All city employees in Illinois’ Chicago will be required to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-October this year, according to statements from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office released on Wednesday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the rule Wednesday, saying employees will have to submit proof of vaccination via an online portal by October 15, according to reports from Associated Press.

“Getting vaccinated has been proven to be the best way to achieve that and make it possible to recover from this devastating pandemic. And so, we have decided to join other municipalities and government agencies across the nation, including the U.S. military, who are making this decision to protect the people who are keeping our cities and country moving”, the press release read quoting Mayor Lightfoot.

“We have also been in close communication with our partners in the labor movement to create a vaccination policy that is workable, fair and effective”, the statement read.

The city of Chicago has already put in place a vaccine requirement for those associated with educational institutions. This includes all staff of public and private schools and carries the same deadline given for city employees.

The press release also said that city employees will be eligible to apply for a “religious exemption” from the new vaccine policy. However, these requests will be reviewed by the authorities.

So far, more than 70% of residents of Chicago, who are above the age of 18, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the country. The number amounts to nearly 1.6 million residents.

Other states in the US have also taken steps to curb the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. Earlier this week, Oregon’s governor Kate Brown announced a new mask mandate for outdoor public settings where social distancing is not possible.

The announcement comes days after the United States Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, paving way for states to impose rules that would require inoculation.