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Southwest Airlines to comply with Biden vaccine mandate by Dec. 8 By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A sign indicating social distancing is posted at the check-in desk for Southwest Airlines Co., Los Angeles International Airport. Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 23, 2020. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon/File photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters] – Southwest Airlines (NYSE 🙂 stated Monday that it will meet the Dec. 8 deadline established by President Joe Biden to ensure its employees are vaccinated for COVID-19.

All federal contractors are subject to the deadline. It was set by an executive order that Biden signed last month. Southwest explained that employees who do not receive an exemption must follow the rules “to keep their employment with this airline.”

“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers in complying with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination directive,” said Southwest CEO Gary Kelly.

Southwest instructed employees to submit proof of vaccination and maintain their current status by November 24, according to Reuters. “If you’re not yet fully vaccinated, plan accordingly to meet the deadline,” the memo said.

American Airlines (NASDAQ 🙂 stated Friday that it will also comply, but didn’t specify when. Delta Air Lines (NYSE) CEO Ed Bastian claimed that on Sunday, the company is still undecided about whether it will require COVID-19 vaccines.

Major U.S. airlines were urged by the White House to require COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees before the deadline set for federal contractors. The White House urged major U.S. airlines to require the shots as United Airlines did.

Jeffrey Zients (White House COVID-19 emergency response coordinator) spoke to Southwest Airlines’ chief executive on Thursday. He wanted to be sure that they were working swiftly to implement vaccine requirements in time for the deadline.

A number of federal contracts have been awarded to major U.S. airline companies. Some officials from airlines had requested that the White House delay the requirement until after the holiday season.

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