All new Brookhaven city hires must be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the city’s new State of Emergency ordinance. 

At its Sept. 28 meeting, the Brookhaven City Council extended its COVID-19 State of Emergency until Oct. 31. The new ordinance is similar to the city’s previous one, but includes a new policy that states all new city employees must be vaccinated.

“With adoption of this ordinance, new employees of the city will be required to be vaccinated upon hiring,” said Assistant City Attorney Laurel Henderson. 

City spokesperson Burke Brennan said that the new policy does not apply to current city employees and excludes candidates who are already under consideration for a job or who have a start date pending. However, he said that as of Aug. 12, all city employees who are not vaccinated – including police officers – have to submit weekly COVID-19 tests to Brookhaven Human Resources. 

As of Sept. 24, 76.7% of the city’s entire workforce and 100% of the city’s communications department is vaccinated, according to Brennan.

The ordinance did not reinstate the city’s mask mandate, which expired in June of 2021. Language in the ordinance encourages residents to wear masks indoors in public, and allows businesses to require masks if they choose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone – even those who are fully vaccinated – should wear masks indoors in public if they are in an area of “substantial or high transmission.” As of Sept. 29, DeKalb County is considered an area of high transmission. 

The entire State of Emergency ordinance can be found in the City Council meeting agenda. 

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.