More COVID-19 vaccination deadlines arrive for businesses, but some questions remain

The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association says there are still a lot of questions.

Annie McCormick Image
Friday, October 1, 2021
More vaccination deadlines arrive, but some question remain
COVID-19 vaccination deadlines are arriving for companies across the country, but some are wondering how they will comply.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- COVID-19 vaccination deadlines are arriving for companies across the country, but some are wondering how they will comply.

The restaurant industry does not have a blanketed vaccine mandate deadline.

"The operators at first were very hesitant to put strict mandates on their employees because they were already understaffed," said Ben Fileccia of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

The PRLA quickly rolled out vaccines for all hospitality workers in early spring and has continued to support vaccinations. Now they are pushing for workers to get booster shots.

Fileccia said there remains anxiety around how some restaurant groups who hit 100 employees will be able to abide by President Biden's executive order requiring businesses with 100 people to get everyone vaccinated or have weekly testing and paid time off to do so. Fileccia said there are still a lot of questions.

"Some of the restaurant groups might just have two to three small restaurants, but when you add up all their employees it's over 100 so at that point president Biden's mandate is going to be difficult for them."

Frontier Airlines joined a growing list of companies whose vaccine mandate deadline came on October 1.

Employees will not be fired if they did not get vaccinated. Rather, they must undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

Earlier this week United Airlines announced the firing of close to 600 employees who chose to ignore the airline company's mandate, but a large portion of those employees changed course and opted to get the vaccine and keep their job.

Dr. Jose Torradas of the Unidos Contra Covid, an initiative to reach the Hispanic community, was hosting a vaccine pop-up Friday. Torradas said as the waves of mandate deadlines continue they are trying to be widely accessible.

"We have the mandate with October 15 being a hard cut-off for certain businesses. And healthcare workers and home aids, in general, are a big unvaccinated group," Torradas said.

Torradas said getting the word out about boosters is important, too.

"If your occupation puts you at high risk - it's not just healthcare workers and teachers - grocery workers, restaurant workers, people who can't telecommute. Those are the people we want to keep safe because they are the engine of our whole economy," said Torradas.