Screening News Update: Travel Masks, Hazard Pay, and Vaccine Incentives

Screening News Update: Travel Masks, Hazard Pay, and Vaccine Incentives

By Jennifer Gladstone

All travelers now face mandatory mask rules, some grocery workers may soon see hazard pay, and if you are wondering if you should give employees financial incentive to get vaccinated, we have your answer. It’s all in today’s EBI Screening News Update.

Travel Masks Now Mandatory

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new mask guidelines are now in effect for all interstate travel. That means anyone using public transportation is now required to wear a face mask at all times.

This directive builds on one of President Biden’s executive orders that mandated all travelers within the country, as well as all entering from abroad, wear masks. The CDC order covers everything from airplanes, ships, ferries, and trains, to subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. Face coverings are also required in all transportation hubs and terminals.

According to the order, airlines and other operators must remove those who don’t comply “at the earliest opportunity.” 

Interestingly, there is one exemption for commercial truck drivers, as long as they are alone in their cabs. Even with the mandate in place, the CDC continues to recommend you avoid any non-essential travel.

Hazard Pay for Grocery Employees

During the first month or two of COVID-19 when many of us were on a complete lockdown, a courageous bunch got out there and not only kept grocery stores open, but often shopped and delivered food and supplies to those staying at home. Very often, these workers were not just labeled “essential,” but heroes. 

Now, the Seattle City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance requiring those working in grocery stores to get hazard pay. If you are an employee of the store, you will get an additional $4 an hour. 

The ordinance covers full-time, part-time, and temporary workers, but gig workers such as those shopping for delivery services like InstaCart, are not. 

While compensating those who are willing to put themselves at risk may sound like a great idea, the issue quickly ended up in court because it is an unfunded mandate. Smaller businesses say adding the extra money into every paycheck will put them out of business. 

Other states have made similar requests to support frontline workers, but they gave grants or bonuses to businesses to cover the hazard pay. Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Louisiana are just a few examples. 

Vaccine Incentives Bring Goodwill

Paying for your employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations could get your business a shot in the arm with consumers. Morning Consult conducted a survey that shows 44% of people would have an improved view of their favorite brands if they provided some kind of financial incentive for their employees to get the vaccine. 

This idea of paying employees for getting the shots has been taking root for a while. Last month we told you about Dollar General, Trader Joe’s, and InstaCart all giving employees up to 4 hours of additional pay for getting immunized. 

While consumers seem to like the idea of the incentives, they are not as supportive of making the vaccines mandatory for returning to work. Only 17% would have a better view of their favorite brands if they demanded a vaccine in order to work. 

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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