Screening News Update: Freebies for Vaccines, Small Biz Help, and More States Legalize Weed

Screening News Update: Freebies for Vaccines, Small Biz Help, and More States Legalize Weed

By Jennifer Gladstone

A free doughnut is enough to convince many to get a vaccine, there’s money out there to help small businesses cover the time off employees may need to get those shots, and as COVID-19 rages on, states continue to legalize marijuana. We have all these stories in today’s EBI Screening News Update.

Do Freebies Work?

Would a free doughnut or a free beer be enough to convince you to get your COVID-19 vaccine? A new survey says, for a lot of Americans, the answer is yes!

You’ve probably already heard about Krispy Kreme’s free doughnut a day with your vaccine card, but there are others. Budweiser offered a free beer to the first 10,000 people who sent a picture that proved they got the shot. White Castle is offering a free dessert on a stick, and some movie theaters are giving away free popcorn.

According to research from Morning Consult, 43% of unvaccinated adults say freebies like these would make them more willing to get the shots. Fifty-eight percent of people surveyed support the idea of encouraging folks to get vaccinated this way, while 44% say they don’t think companies should offer such rewards.

Opinions about the giveaways are divided by things like political affiliation and age. Millennials were the most likely to say a freebie from a favorite brand could sway them to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 Tax Credit for Small Business

We’ve talked many times about companies paying their employees to take time off to get vaccinated. Usually, they are big names like Trader Joe’s, Dollar General, and Instacart.

But what if you are a small business that just can’t afford to pay people for time away from work?

The American Rescue Plan has a provision that offers tax credits of up to $511 a day for each employee. While the majority of the provision focuses on paid sick and family leave, it can also be used to cover time employees take during the workday to get their vaccines, and any time off they need to recover.  

The provision only applies to companies with fewer than 500 employees.

New Marijuana Laws

Marijuana laws continue to change with lighting speed.

In the last few days, both Virginia and New Mexico legalized recreational use of the drug, and the City Council in Philadelphia just approved a bill that would make it illegal to do pre-employment marijuana tests on job applicants.

Starting July 1st, adults over the age of 21 in Virginia can legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and each household can grow up to 4 plants – as long as they are in a place children cannot get to them. You will also be able to “gift” up to an ounce of the drug to another adult.

New Mexico’s governor convened a special session to push a bill through because it failed to pass during the regular session. Adults will now be allowed to possess up to two ounces and may grow up to 12 plants per household. None of the home-grown pot can be sold or bartered. Retail sales will not be available in the state until 2022.

Back in Philadelphia, recreational use of the drug is still illegal, but council members passed the measure to protect job applicants who have been prescribed marijuana for medical reasons. Testing is still allowed for safety-sensitive positions. If the measure is signed by the mayor, it will be effective on January 1, 2022.

About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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