Maine Employers Seek Clarification Around Biden's Vaccine Mandate
Some employers in Maine are seeking clarification around President Joe Biden's new mandate that requires that all workers at companies with more than 100 employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, or be regularly tested.
Renee Smyth, spokesperson for Camden National Bank, says it isn't clear when the mandate takes effect and what testing options will be available.
"Ya know, how would we, with many locations throughout the state of Maine - we have 58 banking centers and a few other loan production offices - we would need to understand how would we do testing for those who are unvaccinated, and certainly the cost of it too," Smyth says.
Smyth says Camden National Bank has encouraged all of its 650 employees to get vaccinated. She says 70% have already done so.
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce says its supports the intent of the new federal mandate, but Chamber President Dana Connors says there are concerns about how the mandate will be implemented.
"Those that remain that do not have everyone vaccinated will be put in a place where they're going to be the enforcer. And with that enforcement comes the chance that if you don't comply totally, you're going to be penalized. If you do comply, you may risk losing an employee," Connors says.
Christine Cummings of the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association says her members want more details on when the mandate takes effect and how they're supposed to enforce it.
"I think there was some hesitation when we saw the initial $14,000 per violation note," Cummings says.
According to data from the Maine Department of Labor, close to 170,000 workers will be affected by the mandate, including tens of thousands of workers who already fall under a state vaccine mandate issued by Gov. Janet Mills.