Last Thursday, President Biden gave a speech on the pandemic, indicating that the US Department of Labor (DOL) is developing an emergency rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to require their employees to be fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. He also said that the DOL will require these employers to provide paid time off to get vaccinated.
Our industry has done a lot to support vaccination efforts, and we’ll continue to do so because health experts tell us this is the most effective tool we have to combat the pandemic. At the same time, we know this directive could be very problematic for you as you struggle to hire and retain workers and cover all of the new pandemic-related costs that have been left in your lap for the past 18 months. Please see the statement below that we issued to our media contacts today, emphasizing that you need support, not unfunded mandates, to meet the current challenges of the pandemic.
The National Restaurant Association is already engaging with DOL officials to shape this emergency rule as much as possible. And it’s clear there will be multiple lawsuits filed to attempt to stop the rule from going into effect. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and keep you updated as it develops. But I do want to be clear that this new rule is still in development and not something that you must implement now.
“The National Restaurant Association and the restaurant industry support vaccination for everyone because higher vaccination rates are our best bet for containing the spread of COVID-19. Our COVID-19 Operating Guidance best practices continue to suggest that all restaurant employees be vaccinated if possible. While we appreciate the intent of this executive order, we hope that the Administration will work with us to take into consideration the unique operations of restaurants when creating the guidelines for implementation.”
- Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, National Restaurant Association