Investigation: Michigan business leaders support COVID-19 vaccination mandates, but few implement them

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For executives who have changed their work schedules due to the delta variant, precautions vary.

“We’re going back to social distancing and other common sense precautions to keep staff safe,” one respondent said.

“Until infections decrease dramatically before initiating a hybrid return to the office,” said another.

Others delay their return to the office until the current wave subsides. Some are re-establishing health checks at the entrance to the office. Others dramatically reduce the number of employees who can be in the office each day.

Of those polled who said employees work most or all of the time in the office, many operate businesses in industries where remote working is not possible, such as construction, restaurants and healthcare.

Respondents are also split on the requirement to wear a mask for employees, with 48.8% not requiring it, 27.1% requiring it for all employees and 24.1% requiring for unvaccinated employees.

Federal, state and local authorities have doubled the effectiveness of mask wearing in recent weeks and are even urging those vaccinated to wear a mask indoors.

Dr Rudolph Valentini, the group’s chief medical director for Detroit Medical Center, urges employees to hide indoors as the Delta variant accelerates its attack in Michigan. The DMC has a masking policy but does not require the vaccine for employees.

“Our hospitalizations remain surprisingly low and quite manageable compared to what we see in other parts of the United States, but we have about half of our population that is unvaccinated,” Valentini said. “(The delta variant) has fangs. It’s a different beast. The reluctance to vaccinate has been our Achilles heel and we need to do everything we can to keep pace with this virus.”

As of August 16, Michigan had a positivity testing rate of 7.7%, up from 7% from the previous week, and a case rate of 102 per million people, up from 77.2 per million a week earlier. Hospitalizations were up 23% and intensive care patients with COVID-19 were up 15% from the previous week. On August 16, 823 residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest since the spring outbreak ended in early June.

A total of 57.7 percent of Michigan residents aged 12 and older have been fully immunized.

Galle moved his business completely remotely in April 2020, moving out of the company’s lease to Ferndale. Special D events will likely remain so, even after the pandemic, she said.

For now, Galle plans to maintain relationships with contractors willing and able to prove the immunization status of their employees.

“Previously we had months to plan events, now we are asked to plan 1,500 people events in seven days,” said Galle. “In these tight deadlines, I’m going to have to develop stronger relationships, especially if a customer asks my subcontractors to only supply vaccinated workers.”

Survey results

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