Local businesses weigh in on new COVID-19 vaccination deadline

Local News

President Joe Biden has set a new deadline for all big companies to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated. The new guidelines are causing much confusion and anxiety for local businesses.

January 4th is the deadline for businesses with more than 100 employees to get their workforces fully vaccinated.

Jezree Friend with the Manufacturer & Business Association says this is causing immediate concern among businesses.

“They are seeing this as an extra burden. Even those businesses who are looking to comply with having their own programs to institute and encourage vaccines,” said Jezree Friend, Manufacturer & Business Association.

Friend adds the guidelines are causing much confusion over who is included, part time and full time workers as well as contractors.

“There is a lot of ambiguity out there and they just released all the details today. There is a lot to learn yet on who this will all exactly apply to,” Friend said.

One local business that is affected by the new measure is Marquette Savings Bank. The bank’s offices say they have been anticipating the final rules from OSHA, which is nearly 500 pages.

“The very first thing we have to do is sort out an intelligible communication to our employees to make sure they understand what is being required. Then, we are going to be working with testing sites and setting our policy on what we find there,” said Kelly Montefiori, Marquette Savings Bank.

Montefiori adds they are very worried right now about the hiring shortage.

“We are very nervous about the non-vaccinated employees feeling coerced into this situation. We are again trying to be very respectful following the requirements.” Montefiori said.

Companies that do not comply with rules may face fines. An OSHA penalty typically is in the thousands for serious violations.

JET 24 Action News also talked with several other local businesses including the YMCA and Erie Insurance. Both are figuring out how they will implement and comply with the guidelines with their employees.

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