Tech Companies Praised for ‘Pandemic Leadership’, Vaccine Mandates

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    “America reported 122,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest single-day spike since February,” reports Business Insider. But when it comes to anti-Covid measures like vaccine mandates, America’s technology companies have been “decisive trend setters,” according to the New York Times’ On Tech newsletter. (Alternate URL) Last year, some high-profile tech companies were relatively early to close their corporate offices as coronavirus outbreaks started in the United States, and they continued to pay many hourly workers who couldn’t do their jobs remotely. Those actions from companies including Microsoft, Salesforce, Facebook, Google, Apple and Twitter probably helped save lives in the Bay Area and perhaps beyond. Now many of the same tech companies — along with schools and universities, health care institutions and some government employers in the United States — have started to announce vaccine mandates for staff, the resumption of requirements to wear masks, delayed reopenings of offices or on-site workplace vaccinations to help slow the latest wave of infections. America’s tech companies, which deserve criticism for misusing their power, also should get credit for using their power to take decisive action in response to virus risks. Those steps helped make it palatable for other organizations to follow. And in some cases, tech companies have acted more quickly in response to health threats and communicated about them more effectively than federal or local government leaders. Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, is also requiring all salaried and nonunion hourly employees in the U.S. to be fully vaccinated, according to the Washington Post. Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer at almost 1.6 million employees, announced all of its corporate staff members and regional managers would need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 4. Though the mandate does not apply to store and warehouse staffers, which make up the bulk of the company’s workforce, Walmart is offering a $150 bonus as incentive for those unvaccinated employees to get inoculated… While companies are pushing for vaccinations, they must contend with employees who are seeking exceptions for medical or religious reasons. Walmart said in a statement that while a “small percentage” of employees are unable to be vaccinated due to such reasons, those workers “must follow all social distancing standards, wear a mask while working, and receive weekly Covid-19 testing provided by Walmart….” The news comes after corporate giants Google, Facebook and Uber announced their own vaccine mandates for employees this week. Companies such as Apple, Twitter, Lyft and the New York Times said they are delaying their return to the office due to the rising cases. More examples from CNN: BlackRock the world’s largest asset manager, is currently allowing only vaccinated employees to return to the office Morgan Stanley’s New York office is banning all unvaccinated staff and clients from entering its headquarters. Luxury department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue is requiring that all employees be vaccinated. All new hires and current employees of the Washington Post will be required to demonstrate proof of full Covid-19 vaccinations. As of August 2, all employees working in Lyft’s offices are required to be vaccinated If Uber employees want to come back to the office, they must be fully vaccinated Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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