FRONT ROYAL — The Front Royal Town Council plans at its meeting on Monday to consider a local rule that would prevent private employers from retaliating against workers who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Councilman E. Scott Lloyd brought up his proposed ordinance at a work session on July 12. Lloyd has said that some employers can threaten workers who decline to receive a vaccination with termination. His proposal has been dubbed the “Medical Freedom Ordinance.”
Council members have discussed the topic at several work sessions.
The ordinance, if adopted, would prohibit any business or entity that operates in town from requiring that its employees, volunteers or members receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment or membership.
During a June work session, Town Attorney Douglas Napier said he wanted to do more research on the proposal. Most council members at that time did not support putting the proposed ordinance on a meeting agenda for possible consideration. Members were in favor of not requiring town employees to receive the vaccine.
Virginia’s open meeting laws require that the governing body hold a public hearing when considering an ordinance. But Town Council does not plan to hold a hearing on the proposed ordinance. Rather, members added the proposal as an emergency ordinance to Monday’s meeting agenda. Virginia does not require a governing body to hold a public hearing on an emergency ordinance at the time it comes up for consideration.
The town plans to make the text of the proposed ordinance available on Thursday, Clerk of Council Tina Presley said Tuesday.
On Monday, Valley Health — parent company of Warren Memorial Hospital in Front Royal — announced that it was requiring all employees and contractors to be vaccinated or face termination.