Hampton Roads employers figure out what vaccine mandate means for them

Posted at 5:20 PM, Nov 05, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - This week, the Biden announced the next steps in vaccination for private companies, requiring companies with more than 100 employees to to mandate vaccines or have employees be tested every week by January 4.

Hampton Roads companies are working to determine what it means for them.

Newport News Shipbuilding, a federal contractor, extended its vaccination deadline to match the new guidelines. It was previously scheduled for early December.

Ferguson, a large employer on the Peninsula, told News 3 they're still figuring out what the guidelines mean for them.

The Hampton Roads Retail Alliance says many of their members have under 100 employees, so they are not required to follow the guidelines.

The National Retail Federation is worried this could have a big impact on larger stores, like Target and Walmart.

"This that just came out from the Biden Administration is extremely onerous. It's coming at the absolute worst time. It's coming during the holiday season, when we have many, many obligations to address the wants of our customers to provide goods and services to the public. This is going to be very, very difficult for our members to implement," said Ed Egee from the National Retail Federation.

NRF does not believe the mandate is necessary and hopes the Biden administration will reconsider.

Dr. Robert McNab, an economist at Old Dominion University, says Hampton Roads could see more of an impact from the mandate because the region lags behind the state in vaccination rates.

"The challenge here for local leaders and public health officials and employers is to overcome vaccine hesitancy because we know the benefits of vaccination with regards to public health and economic health," said McNab.

Click here for our full COVID vaccination guide.