Federal government released new guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements

Coronavirus Local Impact

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Biden Administration announced new COVID vaccination requirements for large employers.

Vaccination will soon be a requirement to work at large businesses with more than 100 employees. OSHA, the federal agency enforcing the rule, is giving workers a January 4th deadline to get vaccinated. Fines for failing to comply, could be as much as $14,000 dollars per violation.

Since the federal government is now requiring vaccinations for these companies, workers will have to receive paid time off to get their shots. If they refuse, it’ll be up to them to get tested weekly.

Massachusetts State Senator, John Velis told 22News, “Let’s just follow the guidance, and lets just get back to where we need to be. So we can be around each other, stop wearing masks, stop talking about Covid-19.”

The CDC says, 70 percent of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated. In Holyoke, they’re at 55 percent..

While Interim Holyoke Mayor, Terry Murphy added, “I wish we didn’t get to the point where we mandated it. I wish people would just read the scientific information, and vaccination seems to have been keeping cases down and keeping severity of cases down.”

The new rules also apply to state and local government workers, including teachers and school staff. Federal contractors and health care workers who are not vaccinated do not have the testing option. Workers who choose the testing option, will also be required to wear a face mask beginning December 5th.

The labor department said over the next month they’ll consider extending the vaccination rules to smaller workplaces.

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