U.S. Retail Industry Seeks 90-Day Deadline For COVID-19 Rules

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A woman is holding a small bottle labeled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken on October 30, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / File Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept.21 (Reuters) – Two major U.S. retail groups on Tuesday demanded the Biden administration for at least 90 days before imposing new rules that will require employees at large companies to be vaccinated against COVID -19 or to undergo regular tests.

On September 9, the White House said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency temporary standard that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated, or will require all unvaccinated workers to produce a negative COVID-19 test once a week.

The White House said those rules would apply to more than 80 million private sector employees.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation have strongly encouraged OSHA “to provide a 90-day implementation period to allow retailers and other employers to build the necessary systems.”

Retail groups, which represent companies such as Walmart (WMT.N), CVS (CVS.N) Best Buy (BBY.N), Target (TGT.N), Kroger (KR.N) and Home Depot (HD.N), asked how the administration will ensure adequate COVID-19 testing capacity to meet “the significant increase in demand.”

The groups said “there could be as many as 4 million retail workers who may need to be tested each week.” They also asked other detailed questions such as “What corrective actions can be taken in situations where employees refuse vaccinations and tests?” “

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo told travel officials last week that the OSHA order was expected in “a few weeks … We were told in October.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Andrea Ricci

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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