Oregon employers mull requiring COVID-19 vaccines
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A large winery in Oregon has notified its workers that they must show proof they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine by May 20.
Many workplaces are weighing similar requirements as pandemic restrictions loosen, KLCC reported.
King Estate Winery is on more than a thousand acres (1.5 square miles) outside Eugene. Chief Operating Officer Brent Stone said it’s like a small city, with about 70 employees and workers working close together on bottling lines. He said concerns about workplace safety and preventing a virus outbreak are behind the vaccine requirement.
"It’s coming from a really good place, in our minds," Stone said. "It’s really intended to be supportive and not punitive by any means.”
Stone said King Estate has offered on-site vaccination clinics and an additional vacation day as incentive, with paid sick time for vaccine recovery. During the pandemic, weekly food boxes have been available to workers and the winery boosted its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
University of Oregon Law School Associate Professor Liz Tippet said employers can require their workers to get the vaccine, with some exemptions. But she expects most won't go that far. It’s also in people’s interest to get the vaccine, especially those who interact a lot with others in the workplace, she added.