The Town of Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia, now has a COVID-19 vaccine mandate after the town council voted to approve the measure Tuesday.
Under the requirement, town employees will have 90 days to be fully vaccinated in order to keep their jobs.
The town will offer religious and medical exemptions, and contractors will be exempt. Those who fall under the exemptions will need to be tested weekly through a program that will be paid for by Leesburg.
“If we don’t do something, we are going to be here two years from now still wearing masks,” said Mayor Kelly Burk, as she spoke in favor of the mandate.
The vote came two weeks after some local police officers claimed a vaccine mandate would lead to a protest and mass resignations.
Council member Kari Nacy cited that as she voted against the measure.
“There’s a sentiment out there that says ‘just call their bluff and see if they leave,'” Nacy said. “Our police force is now divided because of this and one of my biggest concerns is that we will lose really good people.”
During a Sept. 28 council meeting, Leesburg Police Department employee Josh Carter said that a vaccine mandate “has the potential to decimate” the local police force.
“If you decide to move forward with mandating this vaccine, the loss of officers is on you and I’m going to come back and ask what your plan is to keep my family and my neighbors safe, with little to no officers patrolling our streets or our schools,” Carter said.
Leesburg Police Department employee William Butterfield threatened to seek a new job if the vaccine were to be mandated.
“You guys will be losing a lot of money that you invested in me that I very gratefully appreciate you guys doing, but we’d be losing that and a lot of really good officers like me that will be doing the same thing,” Butterfield said.