Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 29° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

City of Spokane, county await decision on vaccine mandate

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 7, 2022

As the sun sets in downtown Spokane, Washington, a pedestrian walks by the entrance of the City Hall building, Monday, Oct 11, 2021.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
As the sun sets in downtown Spokane, Washington, a pedestrian walks by the entrance of the City Hall building, Monday, Oct 11, 2021. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Adam Shanks and Colin Tiernan The Spokesman-Review

It remains uncertain whether President Joseph Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate will apply to the thousands of people who work for the city of Spokane and Spokane County.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Friday in an emergency challenge to the mandate, which effects employers with more than 100 employees and is set to take effect Monday.

Under rules announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in November, employees would be required to receive the vaccine against COVID-19 or wear a mask and be tested on a weekly basis.

As of Friday evening, the Supreme Court had yet to issue a decision on a challenge to the rules by a number of business groups, religious organizations and states, including Idaho.

The city of Spokane is operating under the assumption the mandate will apply to its operations if the court allows it to move forward. It could require the city come to terms on accommodations for unvaccinated employees with multiple labor unions.

The city is “on hold” and awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court. Its next steps will be communicated first to employees, according to city spokesman Brian Coddington.

A mandate would likely put Spokane County, which has more than 2,000 employees, in the same position as Spokane.

Spokane County commissioners did not respond to requests for comment, but they have stated in the past they have no interest in imposing a vaccine requirement on county employees.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.