86% of City of Regina employees vaccinated ahead of having to pay for their own COVID-19 tests

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As of mid-November, city employees will need to cover the cost of their own weekly tests.  (Alexander Quon/CBC News - image credit)
As of mid-November, city employees will need to cover the cost of their own weekly tests. (Alexander Quon/CBC News - image credit)

A majority of City of Regina employees are fully vaccinated ahead of a change in policy that will see unvaccinated workers bear the cost of weekly COVID-19 tests.

In a statement to CBC News on Tuesday, city administration said that as of Oct. 21 they've asked 97 per cent of their approximately 2,500 employees to disclose their vaccination status.

Roughly 2085 employees, or 86 per cent, have disclosed that they're fully vaccinated.

The city said a breakdown by department wasn't available.

The Regina Police Service (RPS) is not included in the totals. The city said RPS is handling its own testing and vaccination procedures.

The RPS currently requires employees to be fully vaccinated or submit a negative test at the beginning of their work week.

In an email, a spokesperson for the RPS said more than 95 per cent of its 606 employees (414 sworn officers and 192 civilians) have provide proof of vaccination.

The police service said it is currently using rapid tests for employees, with no associated costs.

Changes coming for city employees

Since October, Regina has been paying for testing its unvaccinated employees, but that's about to change. As of mid-November, city employees will need to cover the cost of their own weekly tests.

The city said it wasn't able to provide an estimate of how much it has spent on tests so far.

It said costs "will depend significantly on the number of tests the city is required to complete" and that it was unable to provide costs until later this month.

The RPS said it has not yet decided whether it will shift to making employees pay for tests, although that is under consideration.

Proof of vaccination expanded this week

As of Monday, all City of Regina facilities require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test for entry for anyone 12 and older.

The requirement applies to city hall, all leisure centres, indoor arenas, the Neil Balkwill Civic Arts Centre, community centres and the Regina Floral Conservatory.

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The city has already been following the public health order implemented by the province on Oct. 1.

That had required proof of vaccination or a negative test for visitors to recreation centres, community centres for fitness activities, city hall's cafeteria and arenas for ticketed sporting events for anyone over the age 18.

Essential services, including access to Regina Public Libraries, Regina Cemetery, Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery and Regina Transit, are exempt from the proof of vaccination requirement under the public health order.

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