WR urges uniformity and flexibility implementing new OSHA vaccine mandates

Nov 4, 2021
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Written by Washington Retail
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In a letter to Governor Inslee this week, WR President and CEO Renée Sunde urged the Governor to refrain from deviating from OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS) relating to President Biden’s vaccine mandate directives on companies employing over 100 employees.

Specifically, Sunde stated that WR believes Washington State should refrain from deviating from the ETS and provide flexibility in the timeframe for implementation of the emergency standards.

With data on COVID-19 case counts and vaccination rates, Sunde showed the lack of need for imposing more stringent standards on our state’s businesses, especially during the holiday shopping season. She stated, “Small and large retailers have been willing and active partners in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.” Citing Washington State’s own Department of Health report published last week, Sunde added, “These efforts have worked. Only 7.4% of all reported outbreaks of COVID-19 outside of health care locations are attributed to retail settings.”

Reiterating her request for the Governor to adhere to OSHA standards, Sunde urged that the state should also refrain from lowering the minimum number of employees below 100 and keeping the option for weekly testing. Sunde added, “What works for one retailer might be unworkable in another retailer’s setting and, indeed, may inadvertently harm smaller retailers that are critical to the fabric of our communities.”