Indiana Daily Student

Bloomington restaurant owners express concern over vaccine mandate affecting employment

<p>Local businesses are seen Dec. 6, 2021, behind Peoples Park in Bloomington. Labor shortages are becoming more prevalent while some local businesses enforce vaccine requirements. </p>

Local businesses are seen Dec. 6, 2021, behind Peoples Park in Bloomington. Labor shortages are becoming more prevalent while some local businesses enforce vaccine requirements.

President Joe Biden announced Nov. 4 that businesses with over 100 employees must enforce COVID-19 vaccinations among their staff by Jan. 4, 2022. Multiple Bloomington restaurant owners have voiced concerns that hiring issues could possibly arise from the mandate. 

Healthcare workers, federal government officials and workers at businesses employing over 100 employees must get vaccinated according to the national mandate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines have been tested numerous times to ensure the safety of people choosing to get vaccinated.

As of now, Indiana restaurants have a right to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for employees, but are not required to do so. However, Indiana Republican lawmakers proposed a lawsuit Nov. 4 that would limit vaccine mandates in businesses, arguing it’s up to the owner. 

Around 50% of the eligible population in Indiana have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Indiana COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard.  

Nick's English Hut manager John Winters said he was concerned about Biden’s vaccine mandate because he has hired both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, yet the mandate would not allow that practice to continue. 

“We have things set in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated,” Winters said. “So, as long as we follow the rules outside of vaccination, we should be fine.”

Some managers and owners in Bloomington have voiced their concern about how the vaccination mandate will affect business. Mother Bear's Pizza general manager Spencer Hill said he felt many people would be apprehensive to get the vaccine and he could lose workers. 

“I think there are a lot of people around Bloomington who in general don’t want to get the vaccine or be told they have to get the vaccine,” Hill said. 

Hill said he feels more comfortable with employees being vaccinated. However, he isn’t worried about unvaccinated employees because everyone must wear masks in the restaurant.    

IU has required dining staff, health center staff and students to be vaccinated, excluding those with religious or medical exemptions.

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