To Our Community,
I begin with a thank you to the many members of our community who reached out to me with warm wishes and words of support in response to my email and blog post Monday, which announced my upcoming retirement next April. Know that I am very glad that I will be here through the spring. I look forward to our time together and all the things we will accomplish between now and then.
In the meantime, you know me—back to business. I have an important update for you today.
Federal Vaccine Mandate
Last week OHSA released its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which includes the specific compliance requirements for companies that will be subject to the federal vaccine mandates as announced by President Biden.
We now know that by January 4, 2022, all companies with at least 100 employees are required to implement either mandatory vaccination or weekly testing and mandatory mask wearing for employees who are not fully vaccinated.
After a great deal of thought and many in-depth discussions, the leadership team and I have agreed to implement weekly testing for employees who are not fully vaccinated —not a vaccination mandate.
The reason is simple. From the beginning of the pandemic, we have honored personal choice, at least as much as possible, when faced with a flurry of new state and federal health regulations such as mask mandates and social distancing protocols.
As a result, we have opted to allow for personal choice regarding vaccinations, with a strong recommendation for all employees to get the vaccine.
I would like to make one thing abundantly clear: honoring personal choice and respecting it is something we take very seriously. Thus, any acts of discrimination or retaliation based on vaccination status WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
Currently, there is a court injunction holding up the scheduled implementation of this mandate. That said, when, and if, the injunction is lifted, elements of this policy will take effect on December 5th other than the mandate for weekly COVID-19 testing.
The testing portion of this policy, subject to the lifting of the injunction, is scheduled to take effect on January 4, 2022. HR is working with the Leadership Team on a document that will lay out the policy in detail.
In closing, as you go about your day today, remember that it is Veterans Day. I want to personally thank all in our community who have served our country—members, employees, family members, and shoppers. The phrase “freedom is not free” can sound cliché, but it is not.
It is a bedrock principle that makes the lives we enjoy possible. Thanks to our veterans, especially those who gave all. We are here today to express a very heartfelt debt of gratitude. My utmost thanks to you all.
Thank you to all of our members and shoppers for the ongoing support. We will talk again next Thursday. In the meantime, be kind to one another and to yourselves, and we look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.
Onward and upward,