Local businesses with 100 or more employees prepare for federal vaccine mandate

Coronavirus

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — All companies with 100 or more employees will soon have to ensure they’re vaccinated or tested weekly to comply with federal mandates.

More information is expected to be rolled out by the end of this month.

AJ Baynes is the president of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce which is made up of companies from Buffalo to Rochester. He said the chamber includes 30 companies with 1,000 or more employees, a few hundred companies with 500 or more, and many others that surpass 100 employees.

“Businesses are trying to get a better grasp on what does it mean, does it mean all workers regardless of if they’re in office or remote? Most of the larger employers in this community haven’t brought their employees back to work yet full time yet,” said Baynes.

Grant Loomis from the Buffalo Niagara Partnership said businesses may not like the mandate but they’ll comply to keep people safe and stay open.

“In general employers don’t like new mandates but what they really don’t like is having to shut their business down or slow their operations down which is what we all experienced a year ago so I think most employers have an open mind understanding we need to get vaccination rates up,” Loomis said.

Fred Floss is a professor of economics and finance at Buffalo State College. He said this mandate is in business’ best interest to avoid lawsuits if people get sick. He also said he isn’t worried about people quitting – because the mandate will be the same across the board.

“They don’t have to worry about racing to the bottom. So, I want to have all my workers vaccinated but if the business down the street doesn’t, are they gonna quit and go down the street? But now with everybody on a level playing field that can’t happen so now everybody with 100 workers or more will be forced to make sure everyone is vaccinated and that makes it fair so in that sense,” Floss said.

Loomis also said employers have had the ability to mandate the vaccine in New York State but most have just encouraged employees to get it.

He said now there seems to be a general consensus that encouragement hasn’t been enough to get vaccine rates where they need to be.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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