A COVID quick-test device. (Shutterstock)

Evanston City Council members voted Monday to require that they either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested ahead of each in-person Council meeting.

The proposal was approved 8-0. Ald. Cicely Fleming (9th) was absent from the meeting.

The alders also voted to take up a broader measure at their Feb. 14 meeting that would set similar vaccination requirements for the city clerk and for residents appointed to serve on city boards, commissions and committees.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) proposed that in addition the city should provide KN-95 masks for all participants at in-person meetings.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) said he opposed writing the free masks provision into an ordinance — saying that staff could just handle that on their own, without it requiring an ordinance.

Interim City Manager Kelley Gandurski said the process for vaccination and testing of city employees is working very well — that 99% have complied. She added that the city has started disciplinary action against the handful of employees who have not complied.

Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings said members of most boards, commissions and committees have been very concerned about the risks of meeting in person in recent months and have generally preferred to continue to meet virtually.

He noted that there have been efforts in the state legislature to make virtual meetings legal even after the pandemic, but that no statute to permit that has been adopted yet.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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