FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — City officials announced at a press conference Thursday morning that masks will again be required for all visiting any city-owned buildings.
Beginning Sept. 7, masks will be required for all, regardless of vaccination status, in City of Fort Wayne-owned facilities.
The facilities include Citizens Square, the Fort Wayne Metropolitan Human Relations Commission office, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department office, Parks and Recreation pavilions, community centers, youth centers, the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, and Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control’s facility.
According to a press release, City employees who are fully vaccinated or become fully vaccinated will get a $200 wellness incentive.
They say employees can voluntarily provide written proof of vaccination status to the City of Fort Wayne’s Risk Management Department, but according to state law, they cannot require the proof.
Mayor Henry also said he is "evaluating the possibility of implementing additional measures to help ensure more City employees get vaccinated by a November 1 deadline put in place today by the City Administration."
Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter urged eligible, unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible at the press conference.
Dr. Sutter also provided an update on the dire situation locally with high COVID-19 case counts, deaths, and the strain being placed on hospitals and the overall healthcare system.
“Getting people vaccinated is our top priority. We have a long road ahead of us, and it doesn’t appear the pandemic will end anytime soon unless we commit ourselves to getting vaccinated, masking up, practicing social distancing, and using good judgment,” Henry said.
“I know Fort Wayne can do this. We’re a strong and resilient community with outstanding individuals, families, neighborhoods, and businesses. By working together we’ll be able to turn the corner. Discipline, hard work, and a commitment to following the guidelines and recommendations from the health experts will help get us there.”
Henry said he hopes that the local government’s response will "encourage the private sector to look into the possibility of mandating COVID-19 vaccinations."