President Biden announced the most sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements yet on Thursday, but what does that mean for Central Oregon?
The new measures include a vaccine mandate for all federal workers and contractors, and a requirement that large companies must vaccinate or regularly test all their employees.
Central Oregon Daily News spoke with several local employers to find out how they are reacting to the new requirements.
“The Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees, that together employ over 80 million workers, to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week,” President Biden said.
There are nearly 100 businesses in the tri-county area that have more than 100 employees.
I contacted a dozen of Bend’s largest employers seeking reaction to the president’s sweeping COVID requirements.
The City of Bend was among the few that responded.
“We are assuming this mandate, this rule, will apply to us,” said Anne Aurand, City of Bend Communications Director. “We understand employers with over 100 people will be required to vaccinated or tested weekly. We have over 700 employees.”
The city doesn’t know the percentage of its staff that is vaccinated.
Except for Oregon Health Authority rules that require reporting of vaccination for health care workers, other city employees haven’t been required to report their vaccination status.
Bend Fire and Rescue has health care workers and in the fire department, the best estimate today is about 80 percent are vaccinated.
Fire department personnel have until October 18 to turn in their vaccination cards.
“Despite the fact that for almost five months, free vaccines have been available in 80,000 locations, we still have 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot,” President Biden said.
Tetherow Resort told me it will continue to follow all government and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines regarding COVID-19.
Tetherow said it updates its protocols based on state and federal guidance and works closely with its staff to ensure their health and safety.
Some other local employers I spoke with declined to comment citing concerns about politics around the vaccine.