Beshear suggests businesses require employees to get vaccinated 

FRANKFORT, Ky.  As Kentucky continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, Gov. Andy Beshear applauded those businesses that are requiring employees to get vaccinated, and urged others to do the same.

During a Capitol press conference, Beshear said, “If we are going to defeat, and not just delay COVID-19, there is one and only one answer, and that is vaccinations.”

He said there are two big things that must happen for Kentucky to take that next big step in getting everyone vaccinated. “Number one, local leadership.  Leaders in the community that people know and know their families.  And number two, we need the private sector stepping up and setting an example that we have already seen works.”

Beshear noted hospital executives from 11 health care systems in the state signed a pledge stating: “The health care facilities below are committed to the health and safety of our patients and employees. In support of this commitment, we will all require our health care workforce to initiate a complete COVID-19 vaccination series no later than Sept. 15, 2021.”

They are: Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Baptist Health, CHI Saint Joseph Health, King’s Daughters Health System, Med Center Health, Norton Healthcare, Pikeville Medical Center, St. Claire Healthcare, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, UK Healthcare, and UofL Health.

Collectively, those 11 health care systems operate around 75% of the hospital beds in Kentucky.

While stopping short of ordering mandatory vaccination for the more than 20,000 executive branch employees who work for him, Beshear announced an incentive plan for them.

“We are awarding active permanent full-time and part-time executive branch employees one additional day of annual leave, upon submission of proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination,” he said.  “That’s if they have already been vaccinated, or if they are willing to be vaccinated, we are going to give them an extra day off, which I think just about everybody will take.”

He said that is in addition to the time off they get to get vaccinated, as well as time for recuperation, if needed.

The governor also said that although many state employees are now on a hybrid schedule, he was not going to have them telework from home, as they did earlier during the pandemic.  “With vaccinations plus our employees required to wear masks, we think they are safe to show up to work.  We are going to continue to offer in-person services.”