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Imperial Beach City Council considers city employee vaccine mandate options

The Imperial Beach City Council discussed vaccine mandates for its workforce; looking into several options, including requiring the shots for employment term.

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — Taking up the issue of requiring the COVID-19 vaccination for all Imperial Beach City employees, the I.B. City Council reviewed their options in a meeting Wednesday but ultimately no decisions were made yet.

“We are looking into all these options and going over what other local cities are doing in regard to mandating vaccinations,” said Imperial Beach assistant city manager Erika Cortez, who made a presentation during the meeting.

The six vaccine mandate options on the table are:

1) Mandate vaccines for all IB employees or risk being fired

2) Mandate vaccines for just new hires

3) Mandate vaccination or weekly testing

4) Extend the proof of vaccination period

5) Combine any of the previous options

6) Don't change anything, but encourage vaccination

"I think it's a good idea, but I also understand the hesitancy to require anything for a broad swath of people,” said Faith, who works near the Imperial Beach pier.

Some Imperial Beach residents and visitors were unsure if a vaccine mandate was necessary for I.B. employees.

“It's probably going to help, and it is probably for the best, but it's tough when you start crossing the line of telling people what they have to do to their bodies,” said Bryan, a National City resident at the pier.

The South Bay leaders discussed how the City of San Diego is the only agency in San Diego County to have a vaccine mandate for all city employees as a condition of employment.

The city's vaccination chart shows 72% of Imperial Beach administrative staff, 44% of maintenance and operations, 29% of public safety, and 100% of recreation staff have been vaccinated.

Leaders say if the city council chooses mandating vaccination or requiring weekly negative testing, that would cost the city approximately $17,750 a week just for the testing and much more for the paid employee time to and from the facility.

Longtime I.B. resident Michael Sanch said more people in the city should get the shot.

"For me, it's OK. I mean, it is safe for everybody. I don’t want to go into certain businesses if people inside are not vaccinated and when I was in the hospital, I asked if my nurse was vaccinated,” Sanch said.

At the end of the Imperial Beach meeting, council members decided to consider the vaccine mandate issue in 30 days.

WATCH RELATED: 90% of San Diego police officers against mandatory COVID-19 vaccine