While the issue of vaccine passports is being debated across the country, private businesses are implementing their own policies in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine. An example of this can be found in a message from the Hess Corporation’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Greg Hill.
As a significant player in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, Hess is a Fortune 500 corporation. While headquartered in New York, they also have offices here in North Dakota— namely Minot and Tioga. In other words, they employ a lot of people. You can see their other locations here.
In a message to employees, Greg Hill laid out a three phase plan “to resume our return to office activity”. You can see the message below:
As you can see, Phases 2 and 3 — which will be implemented in the Minot office in June and September — will require everyone “to be fully vaccinated to gain access to a Hess office in the U.S.” What’s not explained in detail are the “reasonable accommodations for those with extenuating circumstances that prevent vaccination, such as an underlying health issue.” The message from Hill seemingly leaves us with more questions than answers.
Will folks with “extenuating circumstances” be given alternative office space (a segregation of sorts)? Or will they be allowed to continue working remotely?
What about those who don’t want the vaccine? Do they get accommodations too?
Do people who fall into either of these categories ultimately stand at risk of losing their employment with the Hess Corporation?
How long does Hess intend to go on with policies like this?
Let’s also consider the CDC Guidelines for those who’ve been fully vaccinated. Have you seen them? According to the CDC, the two things the fully vaccinated aren’t supposed to do is:
- “Visit indoors without a mask, with people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19” or to
- “Attend medium or large gatherings”
That’s right. Even after you’ve been vaccinated, you still have to wear a mask and social distance. Why? Because, “We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19.” In other words, maybe you won’t die from COVID-19 after you’ve been vaccinated, but you might just kill someone else.
If Hess intends on following guidelines like this, how can they ever return to normal? In short — barring the eradication of COVID-19 — they can’t.
So, again, how long do they intend to offer their “accommodations” for the unvaccinated with “underlying health issues”? And — in light of an all or nothing vaccination policy — will they extend those same accommodations to those who choose not to be vaccinated for reasons that have nothing to do with underlying health reasons? I think these are fair questions.
What I’ve not mentioned thus far is how absolutely wrong-headed the Hess policy is. Think about it. If accommodations are going to be made for health reasons, then why should those who choose to be unvaccinated be prohibited from the office? If the vaccine is effective for those who receive it, the people who are potentially at risk are those who choose not to get the shot, right?
So, maybe treating them like the adults they are is in order. You know, letting them make their own decisions regarding vaccination— without fear or pressure from their employer.
- Gregory Hill | Management | Hess Corporation
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- Hess Offices | Hess Corporation
- When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated | CDC