Governor Polis to Require Regular Testing for all Unvaccinated State Employees

Friday, July 30, 2021

DENVER - Governor Polis and the administration announced today that unvaccinated state workers must begin serial testing and continue mask-wearing indoors in public spaces.  

Since day one of this pandemic, the Governor’s top priority has been the health and safety of Coloradans. Over the last eight months, Colorado has made incredible progress when it comes to getting the vaccine into arms and making our communities safer. We’re proud to have reached President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by July 4, and currently, more than 3.4 million Coloradans have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

Based on President Biden’s announcement, newly released information about the delta variant, and the rise in community spread across the country, the Governor and department leaders informed state staff of a policy change for state workers to make our communities and workplaces safer. This policy enables state policy to be consistent with federal government employment policies. 

“The state of Colorado has a responsibility to lead by example and to model workplace safety policies that reduce community spread and protect our workers and those who interact with them. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and highly effective even against the Delta variant, and we encourage all eligible Coloradans including state employees to get vaccinated,” said Governor Polis. “We need more help to end this pandemic and I know that our state employees can rise to the challenge just like families, individuals, and businesses across Colorado and our country are doing.”

“I have heard from state employees who are terrified that their unvaccinated co-workers will give them COVID-19 and want vaccination mandated, and from other state workers who have hesitation towards the vaccine. I think this middle road is the right one to take, respecting the right of state workers to decide while also taking effective steps to address the legitimate safety concerns of fellow state workers,” the Governor added. 

Regular serial testing will be free and required twice weekly, and will apply to all state workers (except those with verified vaccination status). Proof of testing and results must be submitted to human resources and be tracked facility by facility. The State will be working on plans to provide testing options to employees regardless of their location around the state. Employees will be able to use the myColorado mobile app to verify their vaccination status. 

Once an employee is determined to be fully vaccinated, the employee is no longer required to submit proof of twice-weekly surveillance testing. The administration is evaluating the science on when disease transmission levels may be low enough and/or community or facility vaccination rates high enough to no longer require this testing. The State will continue to provide updates and work to establish such thresholds as we learn more.

As a reminder, it continues to be the State’s policy that unvaccinated employees must continue to wear a mask in in-door public areas around others in the workplace.

The plan is effective Sept. 20, 2021. The state of Colorado employs nearly 31,000 hardworking staff. To learn more about the policy change read the FAQ.