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Workers must choose: Get the jab or lose the job

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Biden administration announced Thursday that companies with more than 100 workers will be mandated to be fully vaccinated or receive an exemption by Jan. 4, 2022.

A Louisville businessman said he’s been preparing for the mandate. Kevin Grangier runs several restaurants in Louisville and employs more than 250 people; he said they’ve been talking about mandating vaccinations for six months.

“We don’t hire employees at this stage that don’t have the vaccination,” Grangier said. “That’s kept us above our minimal level of 90%.”

On Jan. 4, 90% will not be good enough. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will fine employers $14,000 or more per person violating the mandate.

When the deadline comes, Grangier will be forced to let noncompliant employees go.

“It’s hard enough to get employees in this environment right now,” Grangier said. “It’s a lot tougher to have an employee bring this virus into the work environment and affect 25 people on my staff.”

A preview of what January may look like is local hospitals. The mandate for healthcare workers began in September, and a spokesperson for University of Louisville Health said less than 10 workers were let go. Norton fired 27 employees because of noncompliance.

The CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. said in a statement that although the mandate may be good for public health, it may further increase worker shortages.

“GLI recognizes that widespread vaccination of our entire community is critical to the health of our workforce and the continued growth of our economy,” Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, the president and CEO of Greater Louisville, Inc., said. “Since the federal vaccine and testing mandate was announced, we have been in constant communication with impacted businesses in our region. While many support the impending federal requirements, there remain concerns over its potential implications on already dire talent shortages. We appreciate OSHA’s strategic guidance to not place the burden of paying for testing on employers and we continue to advocate that these requirements are as least burdensome as possible on businesses.” -

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