More than 800 city workers were suspended without pay Tuesday for refusing to follow Boston's vaccine mandate, according to the city.
The approximately 812 employees who were not compliant is down from roughly 1,400 last week, and represents about 4.5% of the city's 18,000-person workforce. A city spokesperson said in a statement that it is leading Boston by example as its largest employer.
The move does require the city to adapt its school operations, the spokesperson noted.
"We are now implementing contingency plans for bus transportation and other school operations impacted by employee leaves of absence, due to unverified vaccination or testing. We continue to work closely with our diverse workforce, and our union partners, to ensure employees have access to vaccination, testing and verification systems to comply with the mandate," the statement said.
Mayor Kim Janey announced in August a COVID vaccine policy for all city employees requiring them to verify their vaccination status or get tested weekly. The plan was being been phased in since September.
Those who haven't verified that they've been vaccinated through a digital portal need to get tested regularly at locations throughout the city, including at City Hall.
As of last Wednesday, 1,400 city employees were not in compliance, city officials had said. Boston public schools had been among the departments at risk of losing people. Any unvaccinated public school employees who went to work Tuesday and tested negative for COVID-19 would be able to work and get paid for the day.
A spokesperson for Janey said that the city has developed contingency plans for no-show employees, including bus transportation and other school operations, to make sure the school day does go smoothly.
As of Friday, 92% of Boston Public School employees were in compliance with the vaccine protocols, according to the city, and officials have taken steps to make sure everyone is aware of these requirements.
Education efforts include email, text and phone reminders to all staff, implementing testing at bus yards, schools and providing information on free testing sites and
back-to-school vaccine clinics.
More on COVID in Boston
Employees who work directly with high-priority Boston residents, like at public schools, libraries, Boston Centers for Youth & Families and more, were required to comply with the policy by Monday, Sept. 20.
Other public-facing city workers, contractors and volunteers, like ones who work in public safety and at parks had to verify their vaccination status or get tested by Oct. 4. The rest of the employees and contractors have until Oct. 18 to comply.