State Specific Vaccine and Non-Vaccine Mandates as of Jan. 5th, 2022
As COVID cases begin to rise again, many business owners are asking whether they can require their staff to be vaccinated. The answer to this depends on the state that you’re in. While some states have issued mandates requiring that employees be vaccinated, others have issued mandates making it nearly impossible for an employer to enforce a vaccine requirement. We’ve listed the states, as of this date, have mandates and or forbid mandates.
We also understand that some readers will be working within offices that are not in favor of mandates. Regardless of where you fall along the vaccine mandate line, we think it is important to be aware of and follow your state’s guidelines and laws as you navigate this unprecedented time. You are all dealing with a combination of high infection rates coupled with all sorts of vaccine guidance. It is, once again, not easy to be a manager!
If you are in a state where you are unable to implement a vaccine requirement, you can still recommend employees be vaccinated, but shouldn’t go so far as to require the vaccine. You can also create additional safety requirements for unvaccinated employees, such as additional testing or stricter mask policies.
Make sure to reach out to CEDR… This text opens a new tab… or your trusted HR professional before taking any adverse action against an applicant or employee based on vaccination status, including corrective action, termination, or change in benefits.
Due to their complicated nature, this blog does not address the federal OSHA ETS COVID vaccine mandate for employers with 100+ employees or the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services vaccine mandate that applies to certain healthcare facilities. If you think you are subject to either of these mandates, we recommend speaking to an expert to determine how they apply to you. CEDR members… This text opens a new tab… are receiving notices from us about these mandates as updates occur.
Many states don’t have any sort of vaccine regulations. If you’re in one of these states and you’d like to implement a vaccine requirement, you can do so. You should carefully consider if you are prepared to deal with how your employees may react to this requirement. This means you need to consider if you are prepared to suspend or terminate employees who refuse to be vaccinated. If you decide to move forward on your own, make sure you are consistent and that everyone understands the requirements. You should:
- have a written policy that is consistently enforced
- verify vaccination records
- pay for the cost of the vaccine and time spent getting it
- provide religious/medical accommodations
- safeguard your employees’ testing and vaccination information at all times
CEDR Members can login to your Member’s Area… This text opens a new tab… to read more about each mandate or reach out to us directly with any questions.
Not a CEDR Member but interested in signing up? Set up some time to talk to us… This text opens a new tab….
Vaccine mandate information by state (as of January 5, 2022)
States that, to our knowledge, as of the date we wrote this article, don’t have any sort of state or local vaccine mandates that apply to private dental offices are listed in the table below:
|North Carolina||Nebraska||Nevada||New Hampshire||New Jersey||New Mexico|
|Ohio||Oklahoma||Pennsylvania||South Carolina||South Dakota||Vermont|
States and municipalities that do have some sort of specialized requirements regarding whether you can require vaccination, or in contrast, whether you must require vaccination are listed below.
Again, we are not going into detail about the specifics because the rules are constantly being added to and/or challenged in court. Once more, we’ve found that individual circumstances and accommodation requests are causing the need for a specific analysis when dealing with push-back.
Statewide – A statewide order… This text opens a new tab… requires dental healthcare workers to be vaccinated or subject to weekly testing. There are stricter orders in place that require other types of healthcare workers to get vaccinated and booster shots, without the option of testing.
Berkeley – A city order… This text opens a new tab… requires all dental employees to be fully vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.
Los Angeles County – A countywide order… This text opens a new tab… requires all dental employees to be fully vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption. You can review LA County’s FAQ… This text opens a new tab… for more information.
San Francisco – An order… This text opens a new tab… requires all dental employees in the city and county of San Francisco to be fully vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption.
Denver – A city order… This text opens a new tab… released in August requires healthcare workers in the city or county of Denver, including employees of dental offices, to be fully vaccinated. For more information, please read this FAQ… This text opens a new tab….
Emergency regulations… This text opens a new tab… require licensed and unlicensed healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated unless an exemption has been approved by DC Health. All healthcare workers, including dental practice owners, are required to submit proof of their vaccination status (or exemption request) to DC Health via its online portal… This text opens a new tab….
Under a new Florida law… This text opens a new tab…, employers are not able to require an employee to be vaccinated if the employee is not being vaccinated due to medical reasons, religious reasons, or immunity based on prior infection. In addition, an employee can opt out of getting vaccinated if they agree to be tested regularly and/or comply with PPE requirements including masking.
All healthcare workers, including those working at dental practices, who are not fully vaccinated are required to be tested weekly. There are no exceptions to this requirement. More information can be found in the state’s FAQ… This text opens a new tab….
An Iowa law… This text opens a new tab… allows any employee to opt out of a workplace vaccination mandate if they submit a statement that the vaccine would be injurious to the health and well-being of the employee or an individual residing with the employee, or that receiving the vaccine would conflict with their religion.
A statewide law… This text opens a new tab… allows any employee to be exempted from their employer’s vaccine mandate if they submit a signed statement that getting the vaccine would endanger the life or health of the employee or an individual who resides with the employee, or violate a sincerely held religious belief. Under this law, a religious belief includes “non-theistic moral and ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong.”
Maine’s Emergency Rule… This text opens a new tab… requires certain healthcare workers, including dental employees, to be fully vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption. No provision for a religious exemption is in the rule, which seems to run contrary to state and federal law. Work with CEDR or an HR professional if you have an employee stating they can’t be vaccinated for religious reasons.
Montana prohibits discrimination based on vaccination status. This law applies to all vaccines and is not limited to COVID-19 vaccines. The state has an FAQ on this law here… This text opens a new tab….
Statewide – New York state’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers does not apply to private dental offices. If your practice is not directly regulated by the NY Department of Health, your employees are not subject to the vaccine mandate.
New York City – A city order… This text opens a new tab… requires all employees who perform in person work or interact with the public to be fully vaccinated, unless they have a medical or religious exemption. More information can be found here … This text opens a new tab…and here… This text opens a new tab….
Under a statewide law… This text opens a new tab…, employers wishing to mandate vaccines are required to allow employees to opt-out by agreeing instead to periodic testing. Employers also need to allow medical and religious exemptions, as well as exemptions for those with COVID-19 antibodies. Under this law, a religious exemption would apply to someone whose “religious, philosophical, or moral beliefs” are opposed to vaccination.
A statewide order… This text opens a new tab… requires all healthcare workers to be vaccinated, unless they have a medical or religious exemption.
A statewide order… This text opens a new tab… requires employees of RIDOH-licensed health care facilities, as well as RIDOH-licensed healthcare providers, to be fully vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption. Even if your practice is not licensed directly by the RIDOH, you likely have employees who are subject to this order due to their provider license… This text opens a new tab…. More information can be found in this FAQ… This text opens a new tab….
Employees with an approved medical exemption must be tested twice per week. No provision for a religious exemption is in the order, which seems to run contrary to state and federal law. Work with CEDR or an HR professional if you have an employee stating they can’t be vaccinated for religious reasons.
A new Tennessee law… This text opens a new tab… prohibits private employers from requiring an employee to provide proof of vaccination if the person objects to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for any reason.
Pursuant to the governor’s executive order… This text opens a new tab…, Texas employers cannot require an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if the employee objects for any reason of personal conscience, based on religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.
Utah’s statewide vaccination mandate restrictions… This text opens a new tab… only apply to employers with 15 or more employees. Those employers must allow medical and religious exemptions, as well as exemptions for an employee who states that receiving the vaccine would conflict with a “sincerely held personal belief.”
Washington’s governor issued a proclamation… This text opens a new tab… requiring employees in private sector health care and long-term care settings to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment, unless they have a medical or religious exemption. More information can be found here … This text opens a new tab…and here… This text opens a new tab….
Stay up to date with state vaccine mandate information
In conclusion, we highly recommend that you tune in to your state’s requirements. We might add that you should be consistent with enforcement, allow employees to use paid and unpaid sick time, consider testing if you can get your hands on them, keep everything you can about employee’s medical information as private as you can (we know they all know what is happening to one another), that you mask up (we know you are all doing that), and document your actions to keep your employees and patients safe.
One last item: We are aware of more updates that appear to be coming down the legislative paths in specific states. The first question you and we ask should be: Does this apply to dentists? Don’t freak out until the answer is determined. Better yet, “don’t freak out” could be the HR t-shirt of 2022.