Listen Live

FT. WAYNE, Ind.--Indiana’s second-largest city will require city employees to mask up, said Mayor Tom Henry in a Thursday news conference. Beginning Tuesday, masks will be required, regardless of vaccination status, at all city facilities, including Citizen’s Square, and even in the pavilions at city parks.

“City of Ft. Wayne employees who are fully vaccinated or who become fully vaccinated, will receive a $200 wellness initiative,” said Henry. He set a deadline for vaccinations of Nov. 1.

But, that can’t be a hard deadline.

“By state law I cannot request written proof of city employees of their having received the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Henry. “However, they can voluntarily produce that documentation.”

Henry said he was evaluating the possibility of additional members to incentivize city employees to get vaccinated.

While the order issued Thursday is aimed at city employees, Henry indicated that this was also aimed at convincing everyone who has not gotten vaccinated to get the shot(s).

“My hope is that our proactive response will encourage the private sector to look into the possibility of mandating COVID-19 vaccinations,” he said. “Getting our citizens and our staff members vaccinated is our top priority. We must commit ourselves to getting vaccinated, masking up, practice social distancing and using good judgement.”

Henry noted that Ft. Wayne and Allen County are experiencing a surge, with many times more hospital admissions than in the early summer. Though hospitals therew have not been overwhelmed yet, the warning from Henry was that not taking precautions could cause more spread and further strain hospitals.

“Other cities have looked at us time and time again for leadership,” he said. “Ft. Wayne can be the model.”