Another company has abandoned its plans for a vaccination mandate and mandatory routine testing roughly one week after the Supreme Court killed President Biden's plans to enforce a corporate vax mandate through OSHA.
To wit, Starbucks has joined the ranks of American megacorps including General Electric in rejecting vaccine mandates by pausing its plans to require baristas to get vaccinated, or receive weekly testing. The decision was reported shortly before President Joe Biden blasted the SCOTUS ruling as a "mistake" during his Wednesday press briefing.
Instead, Starbucks says it will "strongly encourage" baristas to get vaxxed while encouraging them to disclose their vaccination status. Culver said in the letter that more than 90% of workers already disclosed if they have been vaccinated. Meanwhile, the "vast majority" have been fully vaccinated, according to CNBC.
Starbucks employs some 228K people across the US.
Starbucks told employees on Wednesday it would no longer allow baristas to wear cloth masks to work. Instead, they have to wear at least one three-ply, medical-grade mask, or an N95, KN95 or KF94 mask. Furthermore, the company said that starting Thursday, it plans to temporarily expand its policy of requiring workers to self-isolation policy. That means baristas who are exposed at work, have ongoing close contact with someone who tests positive, have symptoms or have tested positive will be instructed to self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status. These workers will be eligible for Starbucks' self-isolation pay for missed shifts.
John Culver, the COO and the North American group president, said in the letter that more than 90% of workers had already disclosed if they have been vaccinated, and the "vast majority" have been fully vaccinated.
"While the [Emergency Temporary Standard] is now paused, I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate," Culver said in a letter to the company's baristas that was viewed by CNBC.
We suspect Starbucks won't be the last American corporate giant to announce that it is abandoning its vaccination requirement. The decision comes as new research out of Israel and South Africa illustrates just how ineffective mRNA vaccines are at preventing people from being infected with the omicron variant.