122,000 state employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly; 2,000 fall outside of mandate

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thursday afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that state employees would be required to either receive a COVID-19 vaccination by Sept.1 or submit to a weekly COVID test.

That mandate applies to state employees, and the governor’s spokesperson, Alena Yarmosky, said there would be no religious or medical exemptions, because employees could opt to be tested instead.

Many state employees live and work in Richmond, where several state agencies have their headquarters. The largest of those agencies is the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), with over 7,000 total staff.

In addition to state agencies, the mandate will also apply to some colleges and universities. VCU, one of the largest employees in Richmond, has 6,083 staff who will be effected by the mandate.

In a statement to 8News, a spokesperson for VCU said around 84% of their staff were already vaccinated, but added the university “will work with the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management to guide our efforts for implementing Gov. Northam’s executive directive.”

Several agencies, including the DMV and Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC), told 8News they were awaiting guidance on implementation from the administration.

But the new requirement only applies to the executive branch, where the vast majority of state employees work. Lawmakers, judges, legislative aides, and many more employed by the judicial and legislative branches will not fall under the mandate.

In total, there are around 2,000 state employees who will not be covered under the governor’s mandate.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.

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