KS businesses consider whether to make vaccine mandatory for employees

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 11:26 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Now that COVID-19 vaccines are available to every Kansan who is at least 16 years old, some businesses are making decisions on whether or not to make the shot mandatory for their employees, to encourage them to get the vaccine, or to just make it voluntary without weighing in.

On Monday (March 29), Eyewitness News spoke with a local restaurant chain who’s in the position of educating its employees, but not requiring a COVID-19 vaccine.

Rene Steven Brand with Spangles said even the the popular restaurant isn’t requiring its employees to get the vaccine, the owners want to make sure their employees know the benefits of getting vaccinated.

“We’re just trying to educate everybody,” Steven Brand said. “It’ll probably take awhile. It will take awhile for some of them to get comfortable, but I think the first thing is to let them know one, you can get it. Two, it is free, and three, the benefits.”

Attorney Alan Rupe said with the COVID-19 vaccine now available to everyone, the number one thing businesses need to do is make a plan.

“I would tell you if you’re not requiring the vaccine and you’re not incentivizing people to take the vaccine, you certainly should be educating folks on what the benefits of the vaccine are, and you should be planning ahead,” Rupe said.

He said it can be a bigger problem not to require employees to get the shot.

“You really need to follow the guidelines on what needs to be done with regard to safety because although there are some state laws that provide immunity in Kansas for businesses, when somebody contracts COVID in the workplace, there are other laws that do not provide immunity.”

Rupe said even though businesses can make the vaccine mandatory for their employees, there are exceptions like mental or physical disabilities, as well as religious reasons for not getting it.

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