Unvaccinated MARTA employees to be tested weekly for COVID-19

Sept. 17, 2021
MARTA says this is an ‘occupational safety and health issue’ and employees who can prove they are vaccinated by Oct. 4 will not be tested.

Employees of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) have until Oct. 4 to prove their vaccination status against COVID-19 or they will be subject to weekly testing.

MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker says the authority has had close to 860 people sickened by the virus and lost three co-workers. Nearly half of all MARTA employees are fully vaccinated, with headquarter and railyard employees among the highest rates of vaccination while bus garage employees have the lowest.

MARTA will provide on-site COVID-19 testing and vaccines for one month at headquarters and bus garages to make access to these services more convenient. Previous efforts by MARTA include partnering with CVS and the Urban League to provide onsite vaccination services at headquarters and the Laredo bus garage, vaccine clinics for employees and customers, an employee town hall in conjunction with Morehouse School of Medicine and a vaccine incentive program for employees that includes giveaways and additional vacation time.

“These incentives did result in more vaccinations but we’re still not where we need to be,” said Chief Administrative Officer Luz Borrero. “We believe this is an occupational health and safety issue. Since September, we require all new hires to be vaccinated and are doing all within our power to ensure that the remaining part of our unvaccinated workforce who do not qualify for a medical or religious exemption get the vaccine.”

Earlier this week, Chatham Area Transit in Savannah, Ga., said it would join with municipal and county partners to offer a financial incentive to employees who receive the vaccination. Several other agencies, such as Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City, Chicago Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in Washington, D.C., are mandating employees provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing.

“COVID vaccines are safe, effective and necessary to bring this pandemic under control. We’ve been masking and cleaning and social distancing for 18 months now and it’s time to get our entire workforce vaccinated to protect not only themselves, but their families, co-workers and customers,” said Parker.

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