WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation on Thursday issued a statement from senior vice president for government relations David French in response to the issuance of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new emergency temporary standard.
The new federal rules will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.
“Over the past 19 months, retailers across the country have taken extraordinary measures to keep their employees, customers and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of these efforts, retailers have distributed, encouraged, incentivized and, in some instances, mandated the vaccine. Since the president’s announcement of the vaccine mandate for private industry, the seven-day average number of cases in the United States has plummeted by more than half. Nevertheless, the Biden administration has chosen to declare an ‘emergency’ and impose burdensome new requirements on retailers during the crucial holiday shopping season.
“As an industry that supports one in four American jobs, retailers have consistently requested that the administration take public comment on this new vaccine mandate. Last month, NRF met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and stressed the importance of feasibility of implementation for employers. It is critical that the rule not cause unnecessary disruption to the economy, exacerbate the preexisting workforce shortage or saddle retailers, who are already taking considerable steps to keep their employees and customers safe, with needless additional requirements and regulatory burdens.”
Last month, NRF sent a detailed letter to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh outlining the retail industry’s concerns about and recommendations for the emergency temporary standard. Subsequently, NRF sent a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and was granted a meeting with administration officials.