Southwest drops plan to place unvaccinated employees on unpaid go away

Travelers wait to check-in at the Southwest Airlines ticket booth at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines has abandoned a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have filed an application but have not received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave beyond a state deadline in December.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines belong to the transport companies that are federal contractors and are subject to the Biden administrative obligation, against which their employees must be vaccinated Covid-19 until December 8th, unless exempted for medical or religious reasons. The rules for state contractors are stricter than this expected for large companies, which enables regular Covid tests as an alternative to a vaccination.

Executives of both airlines have been trying in the past few days to reassure employees about job security under the mandate and asking them to apply for exemptions if they cannot be vaccinated for medical or sincere religious beliefs. Airlines are expected to ask more questions about the mandate when the quarterly results are released on Thursday morning. Pilot unions tried to block the mandates or looked for alternatives such as regular tests.

Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Vice President and Chief People Officer Julie Weber, wrote to employees on Friday that if employees’ requests for an exception are not approved by December 8th, they will continue to work in accordance with the mask and spacing guidelines until the request has been verified.

The company gives employees until November 24 to complete their vaccinations or apply for an exemption. It will continue to pay them while the company reviews their requests, saying that it will allow the rejected individuals to continue working “while we coordinate with them on whether the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation) are met”.

“This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these employees were taking unpaid leave and that is no longer the case,” they wrote on the CNBC-verified note.

Southwest confirmed the policy change, which comes just weeks before the deadline.

United Airlines implemented its own vaccine mandate in August, a month before the government rules were announced. United had told employees that if they were given exemptions, they would take unpaid leave. More than 96% of the employees are vaccinated. Some employees sued the company for unpaid leave, and a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas has temporarily prevented the airline from proceeding with its plan.

American CEO Doug Parker met with union leaders Thursday to discuss vaccination exemptions.

American Airlines management “indicated that, contrary to United’s approach, they are looking for accommodations that allow employees to keep working,” said the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union that directs American flight attendants Airlines represents, in a notice to members Monday. “You have not given any information about what such accommodations might look like at that time.”

Hundreds of Southwest employees, customers and other protesters demonstrated against the vaccination mandate outside Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas on Monday, the Dallas Morning News reported.

An airline spokeswoman said the airline was aware of the demonstration.

“Southwest recognizes various positions regarding the Covid-19 vaccine and we always support and will continue to support the right of our employees to speak up by having open lines of communication to share problems and concerns” , she said.

Southwest’s Goldberg and Weber advised employees that if their application for exemption is denied, employees can reapply if the employee “has new information or circumstances that the company should consider”.

Southwest is demanding that new hires be vaccinated, as is American Airlines for new staff for mainline operations, spokesmen said.

Delta Airlines is also a federal contractor who is subject to state requirements but does not yet require vaccinations for staff. Last week the carrier reported that about 90% of the approximately 80,000 employees are vaccinated. In August, Delta announced that unvaccinated workers would start Pay $ 200 more a month for company health insurance in November.

Unvaccinated People falsely say want for boosters proves Covid vaccines do not work

Jason Armond | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Protesters opposed to masking and compulsory vaccination for students gather outside Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters as board members voted for all children 12 and older in Los Angeles public schools to be fully opposed to COVID-19 by January Must be vaccinated to be vaccinated on Thursday, September 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Kaiser surveyed 1,519 randomly selected adults September 13-22 after the Biden government announced plans to introduce booster doses for all Americans, but before federal health officials recommended booster doses for people 65 and older and those at high risk of disease.

Disagreements over vaccines in general remain largely biased, the survey data shows: 90% of those who are Democrats say they received at least one dose of vaccine, compared with 58% of Republicans.

This breakdown by political identity has remained constant at around 30 percentage points since vaccines became widely available in the spring, Hamel said, although other gaps by race and ethnicity have narrowed.

The surge in Covid cases, hospital admissions and deaths from the Delta variant was the main driver of a recent surge in vaccinations, the survey found, with the largest increases in vaccination rates between July and September among Hispanic adults and ages 18-29 Similar proportions of white, black and Hispanic adults reported having been vaccinated at 71%, 70% and 73%, respectively, and reported having received at least one vaccination. Hamel noted that a separate Kaiser analysis of government-reported data The study published last week found that black and Hispanic Americans were less likely to have received a vaccine than white Americans, but that inequality between groups decreased over time.

The political divide over vaccines extends to the public’s plans to get a booster, as 68% of Democrats said they would “definitely” get one if recommended, almost twice as much as the proportion of Republican respondents.

The vast majority of fully vaccinated adults overall said they would “definitely” or “likely” receive a booster vaccination if recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

the The FDA approved the Covid-Booster vaccination from Pfizer and BioNTech on Wednesday for people 65 and older along with other Americans at risk. On Friday, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky authorized the distribution of boosters to those in high-risk professional and institutional situations who override an advisory panel that voted against this proposal. She also endorsed three other recommendations from the group that paved the way for distributing boosters to people over 65, other vulnerable groups, and a wide variety of U.S. employees – from hospital workers to grocery store cashiers.

president Joe Biden received a booster vaccination on Monday, as his age of 78 qualified him for an additional dose under the latest CDC guidelines.

“Boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated,” Biden said before receiving his injection.

According to CDC data, about 75% of the eligible population age 12 and older in the United States have received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 65% ​​are fully vaccinated. About 2.7 million people have received a booster vaccination since health officials approved it for people with compromised immune systems in August.

The pace of Daily recordings taken over the summer As the Delta variant quickly spread across the country, the seven-day average of daily doses reported peaked at 954,000 on September 3. It has slowed since then, and the seven-day average is about 632,000 syringes a day than Monday.

Unvaccinated persons are ‘costing all of us,’ presses Covid shot mandates

President Joe Biden on Friday accused unvaccinated Americans of slowing US economic recovery and accused some elected officials of actively trying to undermine government efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden’s comments came hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the distribution Pfizer and BioNTechs Booster shots to around 60 million Americans.

“The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing,” Biden said in an address to the nation, noting that three-quarters of those eligible were given at least one injection. He criticized the more than 70 million people who have not yet started vaccinating. “And to top it all, there are elected officials who are actively working to undermine the fight against Covid-19 with false information. That is completely unacceptable.”

After a series of disappointing economic reports, economists have lower expectations for the second half of the year. The US economy created just 235,000 jobs in August, well below expectations of 720,000 gains by economists polled by Dow Jones. This week, the Federal Reserve is forecasting GDP growth for 2021 at an annual rate of 5.9%, compared to its previous forecast of 7%.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky approved third dose of the Pfizer vaccine early Friday for people aged 65 and over, residents of long-term care facilities, and people aged 18 to 64 who have pre-existing medical conditions or who work in environments at high risk of the virus spreading.

Biden said the CDC’s endorsement will enable 60 million Americans to receive booster vaccinations, including teachers, healthcare workers and supermarket employees.

“Like many people on the front lines, I worry about the risk of developing COVID in the workplace, while also worrying about the risk of inadvertently passing COVID on to my patients in the clinical setting,” said Dr. Barbara Taylor, assistant dean and professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said in an email to CNBC.

“Ensuring that those at work risk for COVID are protected as much as possible will help make our clinical environment safer and ensure we have enough providers and staff to care for patients,” added Taylor added.

About 100 million people have received the first two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to the CDC.

Almost 2.4 million people have already received their third vaccination since the CDC released it to people with compromised immune systems on Aug. 13. US health officials are still evaluating data on boosters Modern and Johnson & Johnson.

“Our doctors and scientists are working day and night to analyze the data from these two organizations to see if and when you need a booster vaccination, and we will keep you informed as the process progresses,” said Biden.

Director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins said Thursday that a decision on third doses of Moderna and J&J could be made within weeks. He added that the NIH is currently conducting a study to determine the effects of mixing primary vaccine doses from one manufacturer with boosters from another manufacturer.

But although the CDC reports that 55% of the US population is fully vaccinated against Covid, Biden said the remaining unvaccinated people are stifling economic growth, costing jobs and putting an unnecessary strain on the health system.

Biden has issued extensive new vaccine mandates on the 9th of September Effects on private companies and federal employees. Government employees and contractors must immunize themselves against Covid with no alternative to testing, while any company with more than 100 employees must implement vaccine mandates that include medical and religious exemptions.

The requirements will cover two-thirds of all workers nationwide, Biden said, noting that 92% of the country’s active service members have been vaccinated. He ordered the shots for the military August 9.

“I’m making progress on vaccination regulations wherever I can,” said Biden.

– CNBCs John Melloy contributed to this article.

CDC advises unvaccinated folks towards journey over Labor Day weekend

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky advised unvaccinated people against traveling for the upcoming Labor Day weekend as the US battles a surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions from the highly contagious Delta variant.

“Given the current situation with disease transmission, we would say that people need to consider these risks for themselves when considering travel,” Walensky said during a Covid briefing at the White House Tuesday, noting that people who fully vaccinated and wearing masks can travel. “If you are not vaccinated, we advise you not to travel.”

Health systems in the US have struggled with record hospital admissions in the past few weeks, with several states including Washington, Mississippi and Florida all reached record highs in new Covid cases and hospital admissions.

The current seven-day average of new Covid infections in the US is 129,418 cases per day, a 10% decrease from the previous week’s seven-day average, Walensky said.

The seven-day average for Covid hospital admissions is around 11,500 hospital admissions per day, a decrease of about 5% from last week’s seven-day average, she said, citing data provided by the centers for that Disease control and prevention were collected.

Covid deaths had only increased 2.3% from the previous week to a seven-day average of 896 deaths per day, she said.

Walensky also recommended spending time with other vaccinated family members outdoors on Labor Day weekend and masking oneself indoors, especially in public, to prevent transmission.

“During the pandemic, we saw the vast majority of transmission among unvaccinated people happen indoors,” Walensky said. “Masks aren’t forever, but they are for now.”

The place are unvaccinated individuals not allowed to journey?

It is one thing to quarantine unvaccinated travelers or undergo additional Covid tests.

It is another matter to ban them altogether.

A small but growing list of travel destinations either closes its doors to unvaccinated travelers or opens only to vaccinated ones. However, travel options for the unvaccinated are dwindling as tourism-dependent nations prioritize security and simplified entry requirements over open-door policies.

Unvaccinated people are no longer welcome

When Anguilla reopened last November, travelers to the small Caribbean island had to test negative for Covid-19 before and after arriving. Then, in April, there was a flood of new cases and Anguilla closed its borders to tourists for a month.

As of next week, unvaccinated travelers will no longer be allowed to enter Anguilla.

Michael Runkel | Collection mix: subjects | Getty Images

Now the British overseas territory is changing its tactics. Visitors from July 1st must be vaccinated at least three weeks before arrival. This applies to “all visitors who can be vaccinated”, according to the Anguilla Tourism Association websitestating that children are exempt from the requirement.

Vaccinated travelers no longer have to be quarantined, do not have to take a Covid test or pay entrance fees on arrival. Earlier this year, vaccinated travelers were charged $ 300 to enter, while unvaccinated visitors were charged $ 600.

Cases rise, tolerance falls

Anguilla isn’t the only Caribbean island locking its doors to unvaccinated travelers. The twin-island state of St. Kitts and Nevis implemented a similar policy last month.

As of May 29, St. Kitts will only accept travelers vaccinated with US or European vaccines. The new rule was part of several initiatives announced by Prime Minister Timothy Harris last month in response to a cluster of 16 Covid cases in the islands, according to the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.

A buildup of 16 new Covid cases in May resulted in St. Kitts and Nevis closing their borders to unvaccinated travelers.

Walter Bibikow | DigitalVision | Getty Images

“The previously announced travel regulations for non-vaccinated travelers are null and void,” a Statement on the announcement of the policy change.

The islands have a daily curfew at 6:00 p.m. and tourist attractions are closed until June 26th. A timeframe for reopening to unvaccinated tourists has not yet been given.

Unvaccinated children traveling with vaccinated parents can also enter, but they have to “go on vacation” for 14 days rather than the nine days required for vaccinated tourists.

Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis are rated as Low Covid Level 1 travel destinations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both were approved by CNBC in March among just a handful of tourist destinations that have opened while maintaining low rates of Covid infection.

A “compelling reason” to travel

Elsewhere, unvaccinated visitors have to prove for other reasons that they don’t just need vacation.

When French Polynesia, which includes the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, reopened on May 1, Americans were selected as the only nationality allowed to enter for tourist purposes. The policy also applied to unvaccinated Americans, although the unvaccinated were quarantined.

In the meantime, that has changed. From June 16 vaccinated tourists can enter if you have spent the last 15 days in the UK, most French territories or France’s “Green Zone” countries, according to the French Polynesia Destination Marketing Organization. The “Green Zone” countries currently encompass most of Europe as well as countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States.

France’s “green” list of countries

Most of Europe plus Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States

Source: French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, updated June 17th

All others – including all unvaccinated travelers – must demonstrate a “compelling reason” relating to health, family or work to travel to French Polynesia.

“Tourism is not a compelling reason to travel”, so Tahiti tourism website.

France’s politics are a little more relaxed. It allows unvaccinated travelers out “green” countries to enter via a negative Covid test. Travelers from “orange” countries – those are all countries that are not on the green or red list, that is, most of the world – must comply with the Website of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

The French collectives St. Barts and St. Martin in the Caribbean reopened this month with a similar policy. Nils DuFau, President of the St. Barts Tourist Board, separately issued an announcement that St. Barts open to vaccinated Americans from June 9th.

St. Barts reopened its borders to vaccinated American travelers on June 9th.

Walter Bibikow | DigitalVision | Getty Images

Spain went one step further. From June 7th, Spain welcomes travelers from Europe and from a list of 10 countries with low Covid rates; all other tourists must show vaccination cards to enter.

Note: The country lists from France and Spain are similar. However, the UK is currently on Spain’s list, but the US and Canada are not.

balancing act

Tourism-dependent countries like those in the Caribbean need to balance the economic impact of taking in tourists with the safety of their citizens, said Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of hotel reservation company HotelPlanner.

“I can only imagine how challenging these conversations must be between a country’s infectious disease expert advising stricter policies and a tourism chief who argues to let everyone in immediately so the economy doesn’t stall,” he said.

Hentschel said that while 13 Caribbean states are sovereign, French territories like Martinique and Guadeloupe and Dutch territories like Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten may follow state policies.

Hentschel called Asia “a completely different story”, mainly because of the lower vaccination rates.

Vaccinated travelers from some countries do not need to be quarantined in Phuket, Thailand as of July 1.

Jordan Siemens | Stone | Getty Images

“As soon as there seems to be progress, there will be a new outbreak and lockdown. like in Singapore“he said.” Asia’s journey back to what appears to be normal pre-pandemic travel will take much longer – maybe a year or more, alas. “

Asian destinations no longer require vaccinations for travel, but the continent is still largely closed to leisure travelers. The much-discussed “Phuket Sandbox” model – in which the popular island of Phuket is set to reopen on July 1 before the rest of Thailand – waives quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers from low to medium risk countries.

Unvaccinated travelers can still enter despite being subject to a 14-day isolation period, the Thai tourism authority CNBC confirmed.

The vaccination requirement for tourists is “completely sensible” in some places, but not everywhere, said Hentschel.

“Interestingly, Mexico never closed its border to American tourists during the entire pandemic,” he said. “So this is an example where a more open policy to Mexico made sense given its proximity to the US, billions of billions in cross-border shipping and trade every day, and reliance on US tourism dollars.”

Editor’s note: The U.S. land borders with Mexico were closed to non-essential travel in March 2020 and will remain restricted until at least July 21. However, air traffic between the two countries was opened throughout the pandemic.

The place are unvaccinated Individuals touring? Huge cities, research suggests

Vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans have different attitudes about traveling this spring, according to a marketing tech company. And they don’t differ in the way you might assume.

With Travel bookings are increasingData from New York’s Zeta Global shows that unvaccinated Americans seem more comfortable traveling – and to more populated places – than vaccinated people.

Vaccinated people wait longer to travel

Zeta Global conducted a survey of 3,700 US consumers in mid-March and combined the results with information on hotel and airport visits by respondents in February and March.

In the survey, 67% of vaccinated respondents said they won’t travel until the end of May, but only 59% of non-vaccinated Americans said they would wait that long.

Vaccinated care more about health measures

More than 80% of vaccinated people who responded to the survey said they were concerned about public health restrictions at intended destinations, compared with just 38% of unvaccinated travelers who shared this concern.

It is possible that vaccinated people will be more comfortable traveling when there are health restrictions, while non-vaccinated travelers will be more interested in how local restrictions limit their travel, said David Steinberg, CEO of Zeta Global.

The survey found that 62% of unvaccinated travelers were “not at all” concerned with public health restrictions in their travel destinations, while only 19% of vaccinated travelers said so.

Travel to different places

Zeta Global data showed that the top travel destinations for February and March as a whole were New York City, Denver, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, and two cities in Florida – Orlando and Tampa.

However, the trends diverged when broken down by travelers’ vaccination status, said Neej Gore, the company’s chief data officer.

Top travel destinations for vaccinated travelers

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Washington, DC
  • Boston
  • Baltimore
  • Cincinnati
  • Indianapolis

Source: Zeta Global, hotel and flight visit

“Vaccinated Americans choose locations in the Northeast and Midwest,” Gore told CNBC, adding that the unimmunized had traveled to locations in the south and locations along the west coast.

Top travel destinations for unvaccinated travelers

  • Houston
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale
  • The angel
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Antonio
  • Seattle-Tacoma
  • Austin, Texas
  • Little Rock, Ark.

Source: Zeta Global, hotel and flight visit

However, April travel data showed a shift in travel habits. Unvaccinated people went to densely populated cities, while the unvaccinated went to vast areas according to travel dates compiled by Zeta.

“Las Vegas is the city with the greatest relative change,” said Gore, citing data showing that the number of unvaccinated travelers visiting Las Vegas hotels tripled in April from the previous month during the month The number of vaccinated visitors there has declined.

Similarly, the number of unvaccinated travelers going to Florida in April increased (+ 6%) but declined (-16%) among vaccinated travelers.

Unofficially known as “Big Sky Country,” Montana attracted more vaccinated than unvaccinated Americans last month.

Mike Kemp | In Pictures Ltd. | Corbis historical | Getty Images

The trends in Florida are primarily due to in-depth travel to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Zeta Global said. Trips there increased by 77% for unvaccinated travelers and 33% for vaccinated travelers.

While the Northeast and Midwest continue to be popular destinations for vaccinated travelers, “more vaccinated respondents are currently traveling to the Northwest,” said Gore, based on data showing an increase in vaccinated travelers to Oregon, Washington, Montana and Dakotas.

Travel to these states did not increase among unvaccinated people, with the exception of Oregon, which, according to the company, is mainly due to increased travel by both groups to Portland.

Northeast Europeans fly less

Adobe Digital Economy Index 2021, released last month, showed regional differences in summer travel habits. The report showed that Northeast Europeans fly less than other Americans. The flight bookings in March come from the region and only account for 56% of the prepandemic levels. This number does not match the booking setbacks from the West (63%) and the South (70%) and the Midwest (75%).

Adobe’s research shows that Northeasterners’ flight purchases are more closely related to regional vaccination rates. For every 1% increase in vaccinations in the Northwest, there was a 3.2% increase in flight bookings, the highest of any region in the United States.

It is those who are not vaccinated who should be afraid of traveling.

Harry Severance

Duke University School of Medicine

“The northeast was badly hit in the early days of the pandemic, which likely caused residents to restrict themselves when it came to travel and social interactions,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights.

However, the area is densely populated, said Schreiner, so that “viable alternatives for seeing family and friends” exist.

“A large part of the US population is accessible to New York by car,” he said.

“Increased risk” for those not vaccinated

Harry Severance, an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine, said people who were vaccinated early are more likely to be concerned about contracting Covid-19 and have a better knowledge of the acute and chronic effects of the disease.

“So I suspect that this group will continue to have significant concerns about contracting the disease after vaccination,” he said.

Severance said the thought process is changing as evidence shows people who have been vaccinated are “less susceptible” to Covid-19 infections, and when they do get sick, infections are typically mild with a “significantly reduced ability to spread the disease.” “.

“It is those who are not vaccinated who should be afraid to travel,” he said.

“Those who are not vaccinated are at increased risk when they congregate in large groups of likewise unvaccinated people,” Severance said, “especially when these groups congregate from across the country as the risk increases, various Being exposed to Covid variants. ” . “