TAMPA, Fla — If you want to work for Hillsborough County, you’ll soon need more than your resume.
A significant increase in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant pushed the county to require all new employees starting on or after August 30 to be fully vaccinated, according to spokesperson Todd Pratt.
This is on top of a new requirement to wear face coverings in county buildings and parks starting August 2.
It’s a move to control a virus that gets more aggressive as time goes on. The newest data from the University of South Florida says vaccinations in Hillsborough are down 70 percent since April, which could help fuel a spike of 2,800 cases in the county each day by mid-September.
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Other counties are also implementing similar vaccination requirements. According to WKMG, Orange County says its employees must be fully vaccinated by the end of September. Leon County workers have until October 1. In Hillsborough, new hires will have to show proof.
"The county as an employer...has the right to impose certain conditions of employment,” said Charles Gallagher, an attorney not affiliated with Hillsborough County government.
While employers can have requirements for employees, questions remain on if a vaccine requirement conflicts with the governor's executive order which prohibits businesses or local governments from requiring workers to show they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
"If you're asking for written confirmation or confirmation beyond just their verbal 'yes, I got the shot,' then that's where you have some possible issue with the executive order,” said Gallagher.
"I would find it really hard to believe that a court or trial court would not find the public health priority to be a reason to ask that question and to obtain that confirmation of vaccination."
Pratt said the requirement in Hillsborough is only for new hires. He said for those not yet vaccinated, the county plans to offer incentives.
Other counties across the Tampa Bay area said they have no plans to require vaccines for county workers.
10 Tampa Bay reached out to the governor's office for a response to Hillsborough County's new vaccine requirement and is awaiting a response.
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