MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two COVID-19 developments in Memphis this week have produced two vastly different responses.
One involves whether city employees will be required to get vaccinated. Mayor Jim Strickland told The Commercial Appeal he is reluctant to issue a vaccine mandate, particularly for police and firefighters, because he fears many of them will leave the job. And that’s the last thing Strickland wants. Staffing in the police department is already down and the city can ill afford to lose officers who are unwilling to get a COVID vaccine shot.
Meanwhile according to the Daily Memphian, operators of FedEx Forum will require fans wanting to see Grizzlies and Tigers basketball games this season to either show proof of at least one vaccine dose – or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The Daily Memphian also said the forum will comply with the latest health department mask mandate - meaning all fans will be required to wear masks inside the arena regardless of vaccination status.
As a season ticket holder to Grizzlies games who is also fully vaccinated, including the booster, I am thrilled by the decision. And yes, this will reduce attendance, but the forum is doing its part to protect public health. I cannot say the same for city government.
Of course, no one wants to see city workers walk off the job. But I favor imposing a vaccine mandate and letting the chips fall where they may.