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U.S. retail industry seeks 90-day lead time on COVID-19 rules By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This illustration, taken on October 30, 2019, shows a woman holding a small bottle with an “CoronavirusCOVID-19 vaccine” sticker. Also included is a medical pen. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two major U.S. retail industry groups on Tuesday asked the Biden administration for at least 90 days before imposing new rules that will require employees at larger firms to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing.

According to the White House, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed an urgent temporary standard which will force all companies with more than 100 employees to vaccinate their workers. Any worker who is not vaccinated must submit to a COVID-19 negative test every week.

These rules would apply to all private sector workers, according to the White House.

Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Retail Federation and others strongly encouraged OSHA to provide a 90 day implementation timeline for retailers and employers in order to enable them to build the necessary systems.

The retail groups, which represent companies including Walmart (NYSE:), CVS Best Buy, Target (NYSE:), Kroger (NYSE:) and Home Depot (NYSE:), asked how the administration will ensure adequate COVID-19 testing capacity to satisfy the “significant increase in demand.”

They estimated that there could be up to 4 million retail employees who need to have COVID-19 testing performed on a weekly schedule. The groups also sought to know “what steps could be taken when employees refuse testing or vaccinations?”

Travel executives were told last week by Gina Raimondo, U.S. Commerce Secretary that OSHA orders are expected to be in place within “a matter of days.” “…We were informed in October.”

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