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If You Work Here, Get Vaccinated "or Else"

Millions of Americans may be forced to get the COVID-19 vaccine or face job loss.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Up until now, getting one of the three COVID-19 vaccines has been a choice for most people and private employers have been allowed to create their own policies regarding vaccination status. However, a new federal policy will change that. Millions of Americans will either be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine or be subject to weekly COVID-19 tests as part of a new policy set to be published within days by the United States Labor Department. Who will be subject to these new, federally protected rules? Read on to find out—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

These Businesses Will Ensure Vaccination or Test You Weekly

people with face masks back at work or school in office after lockdown
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Per CNN, private businesses with 100 or more employees will need to subject workers to weekly virus testing or ensure vaccination. 

"On November 1, the Office of Management and Budget completed its regulatory review of the emergency temporary standard. The Federal Register will publish the emergency temporary standard in the coming days," a Labor Department spokesman told CNN Monday. "The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been working expeditiously to develop an emergency temporary standard that covers employers with 100 or more employees, firm- or company-wide, and provides options for compliance."

"Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose either to get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work. The ETS also requires employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and paid sick leave to recover from any side effects."

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2

The Move Has Been Planned as "We're in a Tough Stretch"

President Joe Biden
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The move was first mentioned by President Biden in a September speech. "While America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact: We're in a tough stretch and it could last for a while," he said. 

Per the new rule, businesses with over 100 employees will have to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated. If they don't follow the new guidelines the government will "take enforcement actions." These may include "substantial fines" of up to nearly $14,000 per violation. 

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3

These Businesses Already Have the Policy in Place

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Companies like Disney and Wal-Mart already have vaccine mandates in place.

There is a vaccine mandate for the Armed Forces. "Up to 12,000 Air Force personnel have rejected federal orders to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus despite the Pentagon mandate, and officials say it is too late for them to do so by the Tuesday deadline, posing the first major test for military leaders whose August directive has been met with defiance among a segment of the force," reports the Washington Post. "The vast majority of active-duty airmen, more than 96 percent, are at least partially vaccinated, according to data from the Air Force. But officials have warned that, barring an approved medical or religious exemption, those who defy lawful orders to be fully immunized are subject to punishment, including possible dismissal from the service, or they could face possible charges from within the military justice system."

In New York City, you must show proof of vaccination—of at least one dose—before eating indoors. San Francisco has the same rule. So does New Orleans. The same may hold true in other areas, now that the Pfizer vaccine has full approval. 

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4

When Exactly Will the Mandate Go Into Effect?

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"The Federal Register will publish the emergency temporary standard in the coming days," a Labor Department spokesperson said on Monday. "Business groups have asked the administration to delay the mandate until after the busy holiday season over concerns that workers could quit rather than follow the new rules, possibly exacerbating already-tight staffing and causing supply chain disruptions. Former officials with OSHA told CNBC businesses will likely have some time to implement the rules," reports CNBC.

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5

How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.
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Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.