The U.S government has insisted the federal vaccine mandate won’t affect domestic travel in the coming months despite fears from the travel industry.
Pete Buttigieg, The United States Secretary of Transportation, said, “I have seen no indication the vaccine requirements are going to impact travel in any way, certainly in terms of our ability as a federal administration to provide the services that are needed.”
Pete said 99 percent of the transportation department’s employees have submitted their information on their vaccination status, such as whether they’ve received an exemption or they’re in the process of being fully vaccinated.
Pete Buttigieg defended the vaccination requirement as a necessary measure to protect employees and end the pandemic. ”It’s part of a process to make sure that everyone in the federal workforce is safe,” he said.
“All of us are ready to be done with this pandemic — to be done, not just with the death and the hospitalization and the grim headlines, but also to be done with the restrictions and the requirements and the masks,”
Putting all that behind us means getting everybody vaccinated. That’s what these requirements are about.”
The Federal Vaccine Mandate
Millions of Americans will soon be required to get double vaccination after the U.S government implemented a federal vaccine mandate. The U.S government says the mandate will “save lives, protect the economy, and accelerate the path out of the pandemic.”
The Biden administration states all federal employees, government contractors, and healthcare workers are covered under new rules stating religious and medical exemption.
Workers covered by the federal vaccine mandate will fall into one of the following categories:
- Federal employees of the executive branch, including members of the military
- Employees of companies with government contracts
- Health-care workers at facilities that run Medicare and Medicaid programs
- Non-remote workers at companies with 100 or more employees, Postal Service workers, and public employees in the 28 states and territories that enforce OSHA rules
The new rules don’t cover citizens working for the legislative and judicial branches of the government. In the 28 states and territories that enforce OSHA rules on public workers, the OSHA mandate will also be extended to public employers, according to legal experts.
The federal vaccine mandate will go into effect for civilian federal employees on November 22. To qualify as fully vaccinated, workers must have been vaccinated with their second dose of a two-shot vaccine by November 8 or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The U.S. government only considers workers fully vaccinated if two weeks have passed from their final vaccination.
Federal employees who don’t get vaccinated and don’t have a religious or medical exemption will be subject to disciplinary, which may include termination or removal.
What’s more, contractors may witness their government contracts discontinued or removed
The Travel Industry Response
The travel industry has feared the federal vaccine mandate will cause travel delays over the holiday period.
The union representing American Airlines pilots wrote to the U.S government in September seeking an alternative to the federal vaccine mandate over fears it would create labor shortages and disrupt travel over the holiday period.
Executives at Southwest Airlines and American Airlines changed their tone towards the vaccine rules last month. They told workers they had to be fully vaccinated or get a medical or religious exemption to continue working by November 24, 2021.
Unfortunately, that’s the day before thanksgiving, and whether this will disrupt domestic travel remains to be seen.
Jet Blue and Alaska said they would mandate vaccines and comply with the order.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com