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Alexandria Health Department Adds Restaurant Workers to Current Vaccination Phase

Restaurant workers in Alexandria just got moved up in the vaccination line thanks to a new prioritization from the Alexandria Health Department.

The change comes with recognition that many restaurant workers are unable to maintain safe distances from customers, putting them at increased risk of COVID-19.

According to a press release from the City of Alexandria:

In addition to the frontline essential workers listed in VDH’s Phase 1b prioritization, AHD will now be including restaurant workers in Phase 1b. Restaurant workers–particularly those that work in kitchens and small enclosed areas — generally must work within six feet of others for prolonged periods of time, which increases the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Waitstaff are unable to maintain a safe distance from customers who are not wearing masks while eating or drinking. Additionally, many food service workers tend to be from vulnerable communities, are often uninsured or underinsured, and do not have paid time off, which can put them at higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19 with limited access to medical care. Restaurant workers who previously selected “Food Service” as their occupation while pre-registering will automatically be added to Phase 1b and do not need to take further action.

The move comes on the heels of Mayor Justin Wilson pushing for the change at a state level.

Alexandria faces a shortage of vaccine doses. While the city is getting more now — 3,000 doses per week — than it had earlier this year, it could still be well into summer before the next phase of vaccination opens.

Meanwhile, some residents who pre-registered through the CDC’s system might have to verify or update their registration information. The health department is warning residents not to ignore an email from the city about this.

“Anyone who pre-registered through VAMS may have received a legitimate communication from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH),” the city said. “If you received this email from [email protected] and are not yet fully vaccinated, please use the link provided in the email to update your information. Many records that were transferred from VAMS to the current state system did not have enough information for AHD to make contact to schedule appointments. The City and AHD are working hard to ensure that everyone who is eligible receives a vaccine, and thank you for your patience.”

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