Businesses, nonprofits implementing vaccine mandates for returning employees

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Businesses and nonprofits across the Triangles are implementing vaccination mandates as employees gear up to return to work.

The Raleigh nonprofit East Coast Migrant Head Start Project, which for the past 30 years has been providing a variety of services to the children of farmworkers, is among the first North Carolina nonprofits to institute a requirement.

Employees have until Saturday to show their vaccination cards and prove they're protected.

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Everyone in a county with high rates of virus spread, including those who have been vaccinated, is encouraged to wear a mask inside, he said.

CEO Maria Garza says workers received a three-month heads-up to the mandate. So far, she says 93 percent of staff got the shot or requested waivers.

"We do have a small percentage that chose not to -- less than 50 employees," said Garza. "Effective Monday, they will be separating from our organization."

There are exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

The nonprofit says it consulted with two outside law firms before taking this measure in an effort to slow the virus' spread and reduce the number of positive COVID-19 cases.
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"It doesn't have to be like that," said Garza. "We really want to get back to life as it was before or as normal as it could possibly be."

The move only to be reinforced by Gov. Cooper Thursday urged private businesses to adopt his administration's new protocol which requires employees to either get vaccinated or submit to regular testing for COVID-19 and wear a mask.
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