BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Across the country employers with more than 100 employees have until Jan. 4 to make sure their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Depending on the industry, some of these workers will be allowed to get weekly COVID-19 tests instead.
How are local Kern County businesses preparing?
23ABC’s Vania Patino spoke with a local ranch about how they have been able to get a head start on this.
Early this year, Gless Ranch decided they would bring mobile vaccination units to their worksites or would take the employees to get vaccinated all on company time. They said these efforts plus incentives have been key.
“We gave them incentives of gift cards and monetary incentives and like I said it was all voluntary, if they wanted to do it, and it worked really well for us,” said Jason Gless, General Counsel for Gless Ranch.
Right now, around 88 percent of their 200 employees are fully vaccinated with 65 percent of their employees being in Kern County.
The policy announced today states employers do not have to pay for or provide testing to workers who decline the vaccine.
Gless said they are looking into the option of bringing in a testing company every week to save workers from having to get tested offsite before clocking in: “They will be able to come to work get their test taken, get their results and then immediately get back to work, rather than finding a location, having to drive to the location, waiting in line, whatever the situation may be.”
He recommends other business who are now being faced with this decision to listen to their employees.
“With the labor shortage where it is right now, listen to your employees, take their considerations into account. Do the best to work with them, I am concerned that if we are forced to have vaccinations that we are going to lose a lot of our already scarce labor that is why we are really taking their considerations into account.”
23ABC reached out to other large employees in the area such as Bolthouse, Amazon, Target, among others and they all said they had nothing to report as of now.
The option for testing does not apply for health care workers who are employed at a facility that receives federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid and their deadline to be fully vaccinated is also Jan. 4.