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Las Vegas area employers push for more jabs with vaccine policies

Vaccine
Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 23:10:03-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A renewed push to get more workers vaccinated. Employers, both public and private, are creating policies meant to get more employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Wednesday, Clark County commissioners considered a policy that would require county employees to be vaccinated or take weekly COVID tests.

“What it comes down to is creating a safe environment for the majority of county employees that have been vaccinated," said Commissioner Michael Naft.

Naft says this policy is already in place with state employees and private businesses like MGM Resorts. He says it's a chance for the county to show leadership.

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“Most importantly they want to make sure we have a safe economy and a protected economy in the future,” he said.

At Simply Radiant, a medical spa, owner Peggy Pruchnicki says she’s keeping vaccines a choice for her workers.

“We want to do whatever’s best to keep our doors open and keep our clients safe because our clients are very important,” she said.

She says she encourages them to get the vaccine but isn’t mandating it. She has put policies in place, like testing, to ensure everyone is safe.

“We’re wearing masks and if anyone has any symptoms, we have testing here," she said. "So we make sure everyone is COVID-19 free."

Employment attorney Richard Creer says he’s not surprised to see what he calls “soft mandates” to nudge people to get the shot.

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“As time has gone on. As there are new concerns about customers feeling safe and the economy, more employers are willing to take a more aggressive approach,” said Creer.

He says since the COVID-19 vaccines don’t have full approval yet and only have an emergency authorization, vaccine mandates may not hold up in court. He does say employers can pursue more aggressive policies, but if they’re looking to require testing for unvaccinated workers there are some things to keep in mind.

“Are employees to be paid while they’re being tested weekly? Who’s paying for that test?" he asked. "Those types of issues."

Commissioner Naft says those details are still being worked out for county employees but says religious and medical exemptions will be part of any potential vaccine policy. He says action needs to be taken to ensure the economy doesn’t shut down again.

“We have to do everything we can to keep people safe, to lower the hospital capacity and to make sure those in our community are being protected,” he said.

Commissioner Naft says county staff is working on this vaccine policy and will present it again to the commission for a possible vote in a few weeks.