Businesses are taking a stand on vaccines

As the Delta variant surges around the country, Corporate America is taking a stand on vaccinations. Johnny Taylor, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, explains the conditions employees will face if they aren't vaccinated against Covid-19.

Posted: Jul 31, 2021 10:39 AM


Disney and Walmart, two of America's largest employers, announced Friday that they are requiring employees be vaccinated.

Disney is requiring all its salaried and non-union hourly employees in the US to be vaccinated. Workers who are working on-site but are not yet vaccinated must do so within the next 60 days, according to a statement from the company to CNN Business. All new hires must be fully vaccinated before beginning their jobs.

Employees who aren't already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days to do so; employees still working from home must provide proof of vaccination prior to their return to work. The company also said it has started discussing vaccine mandates with the unions representing its workers.

Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, said all its US-based corporate employees must be vaccinated by October 4, according to a Friday memo from Doug McMillon, the company's president and CEO.

The company has been gradually having workers come back to the office, and plans to be "closer to pre-pandemic levels after Labor Day." It will continue monitoring pandemic conditions before determining if that timeline needs to be altered, McMillon said in the memo.

Customers will not be required to wear masks, but they will be strongly encouraged, and facilities will post signs to remind them of the CDC's new guidelines.

In an earlier Friday memo, Walmart announced that all employees are required to wear masks inside again, regardless of vaccination status, in places with "substantial or high transmission." The new policy is effective immediately, the nation's largest retailer said Friday.

Store managers will receive local updates every Monday to determine their facility's necessary protocol. Customers will not be required to wear masks, but they will be strongly encouraged, and facilities will post signs to remind them of the CDC's new guidelines.

While Walmart is not mandating that its store employees get vaccinated, it will soon implement a new process to verify their vaccine status, and is strongly encouraging workers to get vaccinated. As part of its push for vaccination, the company is offering employees the chance to get vaccinated while on the clock and up to three days paid leave for any reaction to the shot.

Additionally, Walmart is doubling its current vaccine incentive to $150. Originally, the company was offering employees $75 to get vaccinated. Current employees who get vaccinated and new employees who were vaccinated before they started at Walmart are all eligible to receive the bonus.

The decision to reinstate a mask mandate comes following updated guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Tuesday, recommending that fully vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates of Covid-19. That currently includes nearly two-thirds of all US counties.

Walmart first implemented a mandatory mask policy for all shoppers and employees in July 2020. The company then repealed its policy in May following updated CDC guidance that fully vaccinated individuals were safe to go without masks in most circumstances. However, since the CDC's initial guidance for repealing mask mandates, the Delta variant has caused a surge in cases while the rate of vaccinations has lagged.

Most other large retailers including Target, Trader Joe's, Publix and Costco ditched mask mandates in May, too, but are now re-evaluating their policies.

Publix announced Friday that it will require all associates to wear masks regardless of vaccination status effective August 12, according to the company's website.

Kroger also shared on Friday that it will maintain its current policy, which requires unvaccinated associates to wear masks, and requests that unvaccinated customers do the same. The grocery chain is also encouraging, but not mandating, all individuals to wear masks in light of the Delta variant.

Enforcing mask rules with customers has been challenging for retailers throughout the pandemic. Employees are often responsible for monitoring customer behaviors, and interactions have turned violent. Last month, a Georgia grocery store clerk was killed by a customer in a dispute over masks.

As the pandemic persists, customers are being asked "to be mindful of the guidance provided by local retailers" and to "respect employees and their fellow customers who may continue to wear masks for the safety of themselves and their family," Brian Dodge, president of Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in a statement Tuesday.

-- CNN Business' Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2373659

Reported Deaths: 54904
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings31693410717
Queens30446810139
Suffolk2263213507
Nassau2057483244
Bronx2012496686
New York1607744600
Westchester1403622327
Erie984751879
Richmond853091901
Monroe775831154
Orange54237887
Rockland50600768
Onondaga45436707
Dutchess33589483
Albany28239368
Oneida25527541
Niagara22005382
Broome21557384
Saratoga18312186
Ulster16239271
Schenectady15162214
Rensselaer13180154
Putnam1176595
Chautauqua10796155
Oswego9496100
Chemung8956144
St. Lawrence8774115
Ontario846496
Steuben8285156
Cayuga7828100
Sullivan776581
Jefferson737071
Wayne686877
Cattaraugus667596
Genesee6017127
Herkimer5937116
Tompkins588959
Clinton558534
Madison533897
Fulton523297
Livingston514066
Montgomery5023133
Cortland478369
Warren464676
Columbia4608107
Tioga436867
Chenango414886
Otsego413051
Allegany398192
Greene391983
Wyoming388454
Washington387061
Orleans358983
Franklin344415
Lewis315936
Delaware301740
Seneca244459
Schoharie205420
Essex192929
Yates138126
Schuyler126416
Hamilton4073
Unassigned12529
Out of NY0288
Utica
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 75°
Oneonta
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 71°
Herkimer
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 75°
Old Forge
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 75°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
NEW Game Day Deals each week
Follow the 2021 Go the Distance Team - sponsored by Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy
Chapter Photofacial Therapy Giveaway
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve