CORONAVIRUS

Businesses Surveyed To See How They Can Help Distribute Vaccine

Feb 4, 2021, 5:59 PM | Updated: 8:00 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Salt Lake Chamber said it is surveying businesses to see how it can help with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, which officials believe is the fastest way to end the pandemic and get Utah businesses back to full speed.

Chamber leaders said businesses can play a role in lifting confidence in the vaccine and even distribution of the shots.

“In that fight against the virus, vaccines, that’s the end game,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance. “That’s not only how we’re going to fight — that’s how we’re going to win.”

The Salt Lake Chamber wants to find out what businesses think about vaccine distribution and how they plan to approach the topic with employees.

In the survey, the chamber asked owners whether their business has a COVID-19 policy that includes information on vaccines and the business’ plans to respond to employees who either refuse to take the vaccine or express safety concerns.

“We also want to know what capacity there is for possible distribution of the vaccine through businesses,” said Miller.

Right now, county health departments do that. But when Utah starts vaccinating the general public, businesses will help.

The Salt Lake Chamber also urged businesses to help build confidence in the vaccine.

“Because of the trusted relationship between the employer and employee,” Miller said.

“Businesses need to take some steps to help people feel safe,” said Gary Porter, senior vice president of Deseret Management Corporation, the parent company of KSL-TV and several other companies owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Porter is finalizing a vaccine policy along with other company leaders this week.

“You’re trying to help employees recognize the importance of vaccines to protect others, and to protect yourself,” said Porter.

A vaccine policy can be problematic for some employees. That’s one reason the chamber urged businesses to plan this out and create a policy.

“If it’s too rigid, then people get uncomfortable,” Porter said. “If it’s too loose people get uncomfortable. So we’re trying to develop something that has a sense of reasonableness about it and practicality.”

In its vaccine policy, Deseret Management Corporation focused on factual statements from the CDC about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

”It’s that kind of education that people need to feel comfortable,” Porter said.

KSL-TV’s parent company will encourage but not require the vaccine. However, some employees in certain jobs, like food service, may be asked to change jobs if they don’t get a vaccine.

“It may not affect your employment, but it might affect your job,” Porter said.

The Chamber said it expects businesses to learn from each other in this process.

“Getting your employees vaccinated is important,” said Miller. “Having a plan, having a strategy is important. And here’s a headstart in order to do that.”

The Salt Lake Chamber wants to hear from all Utah businesses, not just members.

The survey can be found here.

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Businesses Surveyed To See How They Can Help Distribute Vaccine