Since the introduction of vaccination options to limit the spread and risk of the pandemic, American businesses have had a global advantage to keep their most valuable assets, their people, healthy. This has been a major contributor to the strong recovery of our economy, keeping business enterprises open and running. As business operators know, if they don’t have the people needed to serve customers, or produce or distribute products, they will shut down or scale back.
Therefore, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Social Venture Circle (SVC) call on all businesses operating in the United States to require their workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19, except for workers medically ineligible, and to require face coverings when appropriate to protect the public and our economy. For workers not eligible for vaccination or refusing to be vaccinated, businesses should require of those workers frequent routine testing for the virus or to be isolated from others. In addition to mandatory vaccination to limit transmission in places of work and dramatically reduce hospitalization and mortality, ASBC and SVC call for the required use of masks in all workplaces in those settings recommended by the CDC or local authorities.
The science indicates that viruses can mutate into ever more dangerous variants which means that vaccinations are more than a personal choice. Vaccinations limit potential spread and mutations, making not just those being vaccinated, but all of society safer. As the virus continues to surge, especially in areas with lower rates of vaccination, getting vaccinated is now mission critical to keep ourselves, our businesses, and our communities healthy as the Delta variant spreads, hospitalizations rise uncontrollably, and other variants are increasingly expected to emerge.
The role of American businesses to control this public health risk is clear to us and to our members because we are stakeholder focused. Only by mandating vaccination for our employees who are medically eligible can we fulfill our obligation to look after the interests of all of those who make us successful. That is a basic premise of stakeholder engagement. With the medical evidence for the safety of vaccine options far outweighing the risks and considering the ease of getting vaccinated, it is no longer acceptable to reject the public good that is within reach via mass vaccination.
In addition to the moral imperative to take care of one another by getting vaccinated, the economic risk to American businesses of not mandating vaccination is too great because it’s clear that we will return to the shut-downs that shuttered businesses of all kinds, snuffed out the dreams of entrepreneurs, cost millions of people their jobs, and necessitated trillions of dollars of government spending to recover. American businesses cannot afford to repeat that.
In March of 2020, we made the early decision to close our office in Washington, DC, to help keep our employees safe and at home. Like others, we quickly established new ways of working to help our employees care for loved ones. And thanks to the Biden administration as well as state and local government, we have enjoyed access to vaccines as soon as they became available locally. Among our staff, 100 percent who are eligible have already been vaccinated. For our in-person December conference we are requiring all attendees to be vaccinated, and a reasonable accommodation to participate virtually will also be available for those who are ineligible or refuse. And in the event we re-open our office, for the safety of all we will require vaccination for all who enter, whether you are an employee or a visitor.
Our collective survival relies on this simple health measures, similar to the measures we’ve taken successfully for so many other viral diseases, and we owe it to one another and for the continued success of American business to take the most responsible course of action available.
Image credit: Jakayla Toney/Unsplash