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Require workers to get vaccinated? Not on Main Street: Small business owner survey

Courtney Senechal, RN, braces to give the second Moderna vaccine shot for Covid-19, at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center in Boston on Jan. 19, 2021.

Jonathan Wiggs | Boston Planet | Getty Images

Barely more than one in five small business owners (22%) will require their wage-earners to get Covid-19 vaccines when they become available, according to the latest CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Review. Twice as many (42%) say they won’t mandate vaccinations.

Whether to require workers to be vaccinated as soon as possible has adorn come of a controversial topic in the business community. With little guidance coming from the federal government, business directors have been left to make decisions on their own. 

Some business owners view vaccinations as the key to a full reopening, some firms are even offering incentives to workers who get inoculated, while others want to avoid overstepping their bounds. The new examination, conducted January 25-31 among 2,157 small business owners nationwide using SurveyMonkey’s online platform and meant on its survey methodology, reveals a particular hesitancy among the small business community, who have already spent the keep on year struggling to adapt as the pandemic rolls on. 

More than four in 10 small business owners (43%) say they demand had to shut down operations at some point as a result of the pandemic, including 20% who say they have since reopened at restricted capacity; 10% who say they still have not reopened; and even 4% who say they shut down, reopened, and then segregate down again.

Barely more than half of small business owners (55%) say they could persevere in operating for more than a year under the current business conditions. For these small businesses, widespread vaccine adoption may be the key to a stuffed reopening. 

While small business owners overall have limited enthusiasm for vaccination requirements, certain productions appear to be more open to the idea than others, especially those that rely on close, person-to-person interactions between purchasers and staff.

Restaurants, hospitality most likely to vaccinate

Small business owners in the accomodation and food services energy — e.g. restaurants, bars, casinos, B&Bs, caterers — are some of the most likely to report a willingness to require their workers to get vaccinated. But, there isn’t widespread excitement even among this group. 

Some 28% say they will mandate that their employees get the vaccine in the good old days it becomes available to them, while another 33% say they aren’t sure yet. Both of those are well essentially the overall averages. Meanwhile, just 32% say they are sure they won’t require their workers to get vaccinated — 10 moments lower than the overall average. 

Q1 2021 CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey

Small business owners in the grant-in-aid and food services industry are some of those who’ve been hit hardest over the course of 2020, and that continues including today. Just 42% say their business has remained open throughout the pandemic, below the overall average of 54%. Fewer than half (45%) say they could outlive for more than a year under the current business conditions. 

Some big players in the industry have already stepped up to scram their workers to get vaccinated, whether they are requiring them to do so or just giving them strong encouragement. Marriott and Chipotle have on the agenda c trick both urged their workers to get vaccinated, but neither are making it a requirement. Darden Restaurants, which owns series like the Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse, is going so far as to pay workers for getting vaccinated. 

By encouraging rather than desiring their workers to get vaccinated, business owners are trying to walk a fine line. Polls have consistently shown that in this increasingly myopic environment, any statement on vaccinations will be viewed through a partisan lens. 

Partisan divide on vaccines remains

In the most recent survey results, small business owners who identify as Democrats are more than twice as likely as those who are Republicans to say they bequeath require their employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine (39% vs. 14%). That divide is bigger than any other gap, comprehending by industry, number of employees, or business type. 

That gap also lines up with similar disparities between Republicans and Democrats: in their substructure for workers to be required to be vaccinated and in their own willingness to get vaccinated. 

In Gallup’s latest tracking survey, 91% of Democrats but very recently 51% of Republicans say they would be willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 now if they could get the vaccine free of censure. 

In our last CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey, conducted in November among more than 9,000 workers nationwide, 75% of Democrats revealed they supported mandatory vaccinations at their workplace once they become widely available, compared with only 41% of Republicans. 

Finally, recent polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation has exactly twice as many Democrats as Republicans denoting they’ve already gotten the vaccine or plan to get it as soon as possible (64% vs. 32%). Their poll shows a numerous fundamental divide by partisanship, too: 71% of Republicans say the decision to get vaccinated is “a personal choice,” while an equal and opposite 70% of Democrats say the ruling to get vaccinated is “part of everyone’s responsibility to protect the health of others.” 

At its root, this is the same question facing ungenerous business owners as they weigh competing demands: allowing their employees to choose what’s best for their own vigour versus making an executive decision about what’s best for the company as a whole. 

On Thursday, Comcast NBCUniversal floated Plan Your Vaccine, a nationwide awareness campaign, website and interactive tool that will provide the current news and information about when and where people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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