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A coalition of trade associations has sent a letter to several US agencies asking them "to issue statements 'emphasizing that state and local rules should not place the burden of verifying vaccination on employees'."

The letter comes as a direct response to a new Oregon policy requiring store employees "to verify the vaccination status of customers."  It urged the federal agencies "to recognize the peril that these types of policies will create for employees and make public statements emphasizing that state and local rules should not place the burden of verifying vaccination on employees."

"As with mask mandates, requiring employees to confront customers in this way is calculated to lead to anger and violence," the letter says.  "Many people feel strongly about their decisions regarding whether or not to get vaccinated. It simply is not the job of employees trying to serve Americans to challenge those beliefs - and that is undoubtedly how many individuals will take questions about vaccination status."

The letter was signed by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), FMI- The Food Industry Association, the National Grocers Association (NGA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), the International Franchise Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Energy Marketers of America.  It was sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

KC's View:

This is a hard one, in some ways.  Retailers need to be concerned about their health of their employees and customers, and if unvaccinated people are putting them at risk by not complying with CDC guidance, that's a problem.

But it also is not fair to turn store employees into enforcement agents, which the Oregon rule effectively does.  

I think stores need to be clear about their expectations, and hope people behave responsibly, and with a sense of the public good.