Market trends

Businesses tighten pandemic restrictions amidst Delta variant

Nico Bryan

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August 19, 2021


The U.S. government may not be able to require that everyone get the vaccination, but dozens of businesses across corporate America are establishing vaccine and mask mandates for some or all of their workers.

Walmart, Google, Tyson Foods, and United Airlines are just a few of the corporate giants leading the charge towards ensuring a fully vaccinated workforce amidst rising Delta cases. With 83% of COVID cases nationwide originating from the Delta variant, big businesses have gone back to the drawing board on their home-to-office plans. 

Some are restoring mask requirements for customers, others are delaying plans to bring workers back to the office, and several have even imposed vaccine mandates. 

How are the biggest companies in the world approaching the delta variant? We took to the AlphaSense platform to see how some businesses are adapting.

Vaccination mandates

ThinkFoodGroup

Chef José Andrés‘ ThinkFoodGroup announced Wednesday that the restaurant group would begin requiring proof of vaccination for all indoor dining patrons aged 12 and older for their restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. These restaurants include Jaleo, Zaytinya, China Chilcano, Oyamel, barmini/minibar, according to Washington City Paper.

Tyson Foods, Inc.

Arkansas-based meat packaging company Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN) announced on Tuesday that all employees need to be vaccinated as the Delta variant of coronavirus ravages the country.

“It is abundantly clear that getting vaccinated is the single most effective thing we can do to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.”

Tyson also added deadlines by which the employees need to get vaccinated. For the leadership, the date is September 24 and for office members, it is October 1, and for the rest of the team, by November 1. New hires will have to be vaccinated before joining. 

Mask mandates

Tesla

Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla has told workers at its massive Nevada battery factory that they must wear masks indoors regardless of whether or not they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kroger

The Kansas-based Kroger Grocery Company (KR) released a statement on August 2 saying, “Based on the CDC’s science-based guidance and our associates’ input, we are updating our mask policy in a way that balances our values of safety and respect. Our current mask guidance requires unvaccinated associates to wear masks and requests that unvaccinated customers wear masks in our stores and facilities. In light of the Delta variant and updated CDC recommendations, we strongly encourage all individuals, including those vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities.” 

Kroger is also offering $100 to the employees who will take the jab.

Facebook

Facebook announced Monday that it will require all campus employees to wear masks irrespective of their vaccination status. The move comes after Facebook announced Wednesday that it would require U.S. workers returning to its offices to be vaccinated.

“As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our US campuses to be vaccinated,” VP of People Lori Goler said in a statement last week.

The latest policy will be implemented on Wednesday and will continue to stay in effect. There is no official date for when the mandate will end.

Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co., which employs about 12,500 between its two Louisville manufacturing plants, requires that all employees wear face masks at the two plants – the Louisville Assembly Plant and the Kentucky Truck Plant – starting last Saturday, according to an internal memo sent to workers.

“Based on the latest state, local and internal data trends, Ford is adjusting our face mask protocol for all Ford facilities in Kentucky,” the memo reads.

The memo said all employees, visitors and vendors must follow the protocol, “regardless of vaccine status.” It also notes “Ford continues to encourage team members to get vaccinated.

Vaccination incentives

Vanguard

Investment management firm Vanguard Group Inc. announced Wednesday that it will pay employees $1,000 each to get vaccinated as cases continue to rise as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads throughout the country.

“Vanguard recognizes that vaccines are the best way to stop the spread of this virus and strongly encourages crew to be vaccinated. We are offering a vaccine incentive for crew who can provide COVID-19 vaccination proof,” said Vanguard spokesperson.

CVS

CVS is offering luxury vacations, cruises, concert tickets, a Super Bowl trip and other prizes to eligible customers who get a coronavirus vaccination at one of its pharmacies, the company announced Thursday.

American Airlines

American Airlines is offering employees who get vaccinated by Aug. 31 an extra day off in 2022 and $50 from American’s employee recognition program. “We certainly encourage it everywhere we can, encourage it for our customers and our employees,” said CEO Doug Parker.

Return-to-office delays

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp. two of the largest employers in downtown Minneapolis, are pushing back their return-to-office plans this fall as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Wells Fargo sent a memo to employees Thursday, saying the company is aiming for a phased return starting Oct. 4, a month later than planned, according to the Star Tribune. 

“We will continue to monitor the situation and make further adjustments if required to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and customers,” Scott Powell, the company’s chief operating office, said in the email.

Amazon

Amazon said it would delay the office return for corporate employees until Jan. 3, 2022 as conditions around the pandemic evolve.

The internet retail giant said “we will continue to follow local government guidance and work closely with leading medical healthcare professionals, gathering their advice and recommendations as we go forward to ensure our work spaces are optimized for the safety of our teams.”

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Nico Bryan

A brand storyteller and word-wrangler, Nico Bryan is the Content Marketing Manager at AlphaSense. Previously, she has developed and managed content for creative agencies, tech startups, and traditional in-house marketing departments.


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