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Southwest Airlines says staff must be vaccinated against Covid by Dec. 8 under federal rules

A traveler putting on a protecting mask speaks with an attendant at the Southwest Airways check out-in spot at Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

Southwest Airlines stated Monday that its 56,000-human being workforce will have to be vaccinated versus Covid-19 by Dec. 8 to continue on working at the airline mainly because of new federal guidelines, signing up for other carriers who designed similar bulletins final 7 days.

The Biden administration final month reported employees of federal contractors should be vaccinated, until they are granted a spiritual or health-related exemption.

Southwest and other major airlines are federal contractors considering the fact that they fly federal government workers, cargo and present other company, this sort of as flights for Afghanistan evacuees in August. The new federal recommendations for govt contractors are stricter than those in President Joe Biden’s prepare to improve vaccinations amid organizations with extra than 100 employees by necessitating inoculations or typical Covid screening.

“Southwest Airways is a federal contractor and we have no practical choice but to comply with the U.S. govt mandate for Workers to be vaccinated, and — like other airlines — we’re using ways to comply,” Gary Kelly, CEO of the Dallas-dependent airline, instructed staff members on Monday.

Pilots unions at American and Southwest have strongly opposed vaccine mandates, declaring aviators are concerned about aspect results from vaccines

Kelly mentioned the selection that the provisions for professional medical and religious exemptions are “are quite limited.”

Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and American Airways final week informed their employees that they have to be vaccinated due to the fact those airways are govt contractors as perfectly.

United Airlines mandated vaccines for its 67,000-man or woman U.S. staff in August and extra than 96% had uploaded proof of inoculation just after the deadline a week in the past.

Delta Air Traces, also a federal contractor, mentioned it is inspecting the federal regulations and has not mandated vaccines for its team of about 80,000 men and women.

The Atlanta-dependent airline subsequent thirty day period strategies to impose a $200 regular monthly surcharge on worker wellness care premiums for unvaccinated employees.

“Delta’s individual tactic to stimulate a large fee of personnel vaccinations carries on to perform, with an 84% workforce vaccination level and climbing everyday,” the airline said in a assertion.

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