Federal workers and onsite contractors will have to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or wear masks, practice social distancing and submit to regular testing under sweeping new guidelines the White House announced on Thursday.
The measures are US President Joe Biden's latest effort to spur some reluctant Americans to get vaccinated as the Delta variant of the coronavirus ravages the unvaccinated in particular.
Government employees who do not show they have been vaccinated will be subject to weekly or twice-weekly Covid-19 tests and restrictions on official travel.
"The administration will encourage employers across the private sector to follow this strong model," the White House said in a statement ahead of expected remarks by Biden.
Along with the new requirements, the White House said Biden was directing the Defence Department to look into "how and when" it will require members of the military to take the vaccine, along with other required inoculations.
The federal government is the largest employer in the United States and Biden's move could serve as an example for private businesses and other institutions to follow as they assess getting workers back into offices and work places.
The United States has about 2.18 million civilian employees and 570,000 others work for the US Postal Service (USPS), according to 2020 data.
It is not clear if Biden plans to apply the requirement to the postal service. The US government employed 3.7 million contract employees as of 2017, a New York University study found. (Reuters)
Unvaccinated US govt staff face regular tests
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