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Grocery stores concerned with COVID-19 vaccine mandate: “Simply more questions than answers at this point”

Grocery stores across the U.S. are concerned about the new COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by President Joe Biden. It’s part of his recently announced push to vaccinate America as the Delta Variant of COVID-19 surges across largely unvaccinated states.

Jennifer Hatcher with FMI- the Food Industry Association, said that the organization had significant concerns with the mandate. While supportive of vaccines in general- large employers across the country were concerned with the scope of the Biden Administration’s mandate. For one, requiring any company with 100 or more employees to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine among its workers.

“Since COVID-19 vaccines became available to the public, FMI and our members have been committed to encouraging food industry employees to receive the vaccine,” Hatcher told Supermarket News. “But also respected their right to make choices about their own individual health needs and those of their families.”

She said FMI had a ‘tremendous’ number of questions.

“The announcement yesterday by President Biden of an employer mandate on vaccinations and testing for employees, including fines and penalties for businesses that fail to comply, raises a tremendous number of questions including when the rules will be released; how long businesses have to get their full workforces vaccinated before fines are levied; availability of COVID-19 tests; and whether pharmacies that accept Medicare or Medicaid are covered under the requirement for federally funded health care settings,” she added.

A major concern for the grocery industry: Where to even begin with coming into compliance with the mandate.

“There are simply more questions than answers at this point,” Hatcher concluded. Biden said on Thursday that enforcement would fall onto OSHA and the Department of Labor.

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