The Town of Huntsville will not be mandating its staff to be vaccinated at this time.

However, staff members who aren’t fully vaccinated must now be tested every forty-eight hours (daily if they’re in contact with the public) at their own expense, or with town-provided tests where available. This does not apply to employees who have medical or human rights exemptions.

The new direction came from Friday’s special meeting of council. Councillors Bob Stone and Tim Withey voted against the resolution, with Stone saying his vote was because he wanted the town to take a firmer position.

“I felt that we should have imposed a mandatory vaccination,” says Stone. “You know, you have to prove you’re fully vaccinated to come to the Summit Centre, but the people working in the Summit Centre don’t necessarily have to be fully vaccinated, and I don’t think that’s right.”

Stone says the current policy is a step in the right direction, adding that he’s “very frustrated” with people who can get vaccinated but don’t.

Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano says instituting a mandatory policy in the town without the support of the province could result in the loss of enough staff to affect the day-to-day workings of the town, as well as other potential problems such as lawsuits or union grievances.

“We’ve got the best solution that we can have for today,” says Terziano. “If the province comes out and makes it mandatory, and quite frankly I hope they do, then that takes it out of our hands and takes the liability away from us. We might come to a mandatory policy someday, but it wasn’t for today.”