Town enacts employee vaccine mandate

Friday Harbor employees will need to receive their COVID vaccine or face termination. Resolution 2672 was passed in a town meeting on Oct. 7, with a vote of 2-2 — Mayor Farhad Ghatan was the deciding vote.

“I will gladly side with the resolution, I’m very proud of our science behind this,” Ghatan said. “I’m proud of our health care community and what they’re doing to keep us safe.”

It was also suggested by the Town Council that employees who plan to get vaccinated or have already been vaccinated will be compensated from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act COVID funds in the amount of $750 per employee. This was not passed, however.

The deadline for employees to get vaccinated was originally Nov. 15, but it has been moved to Dec. 7 to allow employees more time to do so.

For this resolution, Friday Harbor Town Administrator Duncan Wilson was to include allowing policies so employees can get vaccinated without it affecting their sick pay; an exemption for religious consideration; and an exemption for those who are medically compromised and have a doctor’s note.

“As you may know, I’m a very community-oriented individual,” Ghatan said. “I do believe that community trumps individual rights when it is in the best interest of the majority. I definitely believe in my rights, but I also do not have the right to put others at risk.”