Atlanta, GA

Decatur Starbucks drops vaccine mandate for employees

Gené Hunter
Steven Chernin/Getty Images

(ATLANTA, Ga.) Many Starbucks locations across the country will no longer require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including shops in the Decatur area.

The new Starbucks vaccination policy, first reported by The Associated Press, was announced in a memo to employees Tuesday.

Starbucks is one of the first big companies to change vaccination policies after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a vaccine mandate proposed by President Joe Biden. The new legislation would have affected about 84 million workers and many individuals would have had to either get fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.

The court's Jan. 13 ruling was decided with a 6-3 vote and came about as the omicron coronavirus variant was driving a surge in COVID-19 infections. Nothing in the Supreme Court ruling, which allows the Biden administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most U.S. health care workers, requires companies with 100 or more employees to ease vaccination requirements.

Other companies like Amtrak temporarily suspended its vaccine mandate in December, before the Supreme Court ruling. In a memo to employees seen by Reuters, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said nearly 96 percent of its employees were either fully vaccinated or had received an accommodation for religious or medical reasons.

Currently, a record 8.8 million people called out sick with COVID-19 between Dec. 29-Jan. 10, according to data reported by The Washington Post.

Brett Coburn, a lawyer at Atlanta-based Alston & Bird, told The New York Times "a lot of companies were pursuing the vaccine or test requirement only because they were being required to do so."

With this move, you could expect to see more big businesses in Decatur follow suit as the coronavirus surge worsens the country's labor shortage.

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