North Carolina companies grapple with COVID vaccine mandates amid surging cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As companies look ahead to fully reopening campuses to employees, vaccine mandates are in play.

Google, Walmart, and ABC11's parent company Disney are among the major companies implementing vaccines requirements for employees returning to the office.

Before Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order requiring unvaccinated workers in his administration and cabinet-level agencies to submit to regular COVID testing, Cary-based SAS already had a vaccine mandate in place for its workforce.

Shannon Heath, SAS Corporate spokesperson sent the following statement to ABC11:

"At this time, we are hoping to fully reopen SAS world headquarters on September 7, 2021. At that time, we will welcome vaccinated employees back onsite to work. As always we will continue to monitor the situation and that date is subject to change.

Like many companies, we are requiring employees to be vaccinated to return to the office in our efforts to keep everyone safe and healthy as we re-enter the workplace. Public health experts are encouraging citizens to get fully vaccinated to protect our communities against the coronavirus, particularly the Delta variant.

At this time, unvaccinated employees are asked to continue working remotely.

And, we continue to follow CDC guidelines and closely monitor the situation in our state and adjust our policies accordingly."

Not every employer is jumping on board with vaccine requirements.

Howard Brown, Triangle Brick Company Pres. is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and said he is encouraging his 250 employees to follow his example.

"I guess that's not really something that we want to put on our employees," said Brown. "We feel like they should have the choice about whether to do or not."

Right now, Brown said unvaccinated workers are required to mask up inside the office or manufacturing facilities, but unless and until he is made to enforce a vaccine mandate, he said he hopes workers heed the advice of medical professionals.

"I think our philosophy is that we're brick makers and we're not doctors," Brown said.

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