Deadline looms for verifying workers' vaccination status in South Bay
Tuesday is the deadline for employers in Santa Clara County to verify who among their workforce is vaccinated or they could be subject to a hefty fine. The Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition is requesting the deadline to be pushed back.
The coalition, which represents thousands of businesses, wants the county to extend the June 1 due date. They said the process has been rushed and unfair especially for small businesses.
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At Zanotto’s Sunnyvale location, all 56 employees have filled out a county form disclosing if they’ve been vaccinated.
"We were ready to fill out this form," said Danine Samide, Zanotto’s assistant store manager. "It was easy because most of them have been vaccinated so we filled out this form with no problem."
Samide has the forms ready in case the county checks. As part of the county health order taking effect Tuesday, officials are requiring businesses and government entities to track and have on hand the vaccination status of all employees.
The reason is that workplace safety rules vary depending on who’s received the shot.
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"I think it’s important for us to know who’s been vaccinated and who hasn’t," said Samide.
Those not wanting to share if they’ve been vaccinated don’t have to. They’ll be treated as though they haven’t. Businesses that don’t comply could face a $5,000 per day fine.
"I think what the county is doing," said Catherine Somers of the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition. "I think it’s unfair at this point."
Somers is with the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition and questions the mandate. The coalition sent out a letter last week asking the county to extend its deadline to June 15 to have more time to review it.
"No other counties are having to go through this next step and you kind of ask yourself why?" said Somers.
So far, they haven't received a response. No one from County Public Health was available to comment on a holiday.
"So long as a business is making appropriate, good faith efforts...the business will be considered in compliance with the requirement," the county's website says about the looming deadline.
"Employers have been under a lot of pressure in recent years not to be too prying into people’s private lives," said Robert Chapman Wood, SJSU Professor of Strategic Management.
Wood said the mandate raises concerns over privacy and enforcement. He’s not surprised if it’s met with legal challenges.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.