#COVIDSafeZones: Workplaces

COVID Collaborative has mobilized dozens of public health and science experts and former officials from the Biden, Trump, Obama, and Bush Administrations to provide business leaders with clear and actionable measures they can adopt to keep their workers, customers and communities safe. We invite other private sector leaders to join this effort to beat the pandemic and restore our national vitality and way of life.

AUGUST 3, 2021 |

OPEN LETTER TO AMERICA’S PRIVATE SECTOR LEADERS

Creating #COVIDSafeZones in America’s Workplaces


Dear Private Sector Leaders:

The United States sits at a critical juncture in our efforts to move beyond the pandemic. We are seeking your help. More than 164 million Americans – representing 58 percent of the eligible population – have been fully vaccinated, providing substantial protection against illness, reducing deaths, lessening the burden on hospitals, and reducing missed workdays and closures. Increasing vaccination rates is the country’s most immediate and best hope of reaching population immunity, beating the pandemic, and restoring our national vitality and way of life.

But obstacles remain – obstacles that the private sector, which employs 124 million Americans and is the engine of American productivity and economic growth, can pull together to overcome.

The latest variant of COVID-19 – Delta – spreads far more easily and rapidly. More people not protected by vaccines are becoming infected faster, from more limited contact. Vaccinated people are generally protected, especially from severe disease, but can become infected and spread the virus to co-workers, families, and their communities. The Delta variant represents a more dangerous threat to your workplace health and safety, business continuity, and ability to serve your clients and customers.

The other challenge our country faces is low vaccination levels. This creates a greater risk of Delta-driven outbreaks and is an emerging competitive disadvantage for the United States compared to a growing number of industrialized nations with higher vaccination rates. Those who remain unvaccinated are diverse, including people under 25, people living in rural and Southern communities, women of childbearing age, young Black and Latino men, people who think they have immunity from prior infection, and others. Many have had legitimate questions and concerns about getting vaccinated that need to be respected and addressed. These are some of your employees, customers, and suppliers, where your business commitments can make a difference.

You have a key role to play in our national quest to keep Americans safe, while respecting individual liberties. This is why we, public health and science experts, leaders in health, education, and civil society, and former officials from both political parties, have come together to ask you to join us and take further steps to maintain safe spaces and prevent spread.

As a complement to actions by federal, state, and local governments, we have put forward #COVIDSafeZones – simple, achievable, common sense, temporary measures that can be applied by any private sector enterprise with minimal disruption and major benefits for your business and country.

First, because maximizing vaccination is so critical to the protection of the nation’s workforce, a growing number of employers have decided to require vaccination with medical and religious exceptions. This is the best way to protect workers and customers where there is frequent close contact with many individuals who may be infected. If your workplace is a health care setting, we urge vaccination for anyone who comes in contact with patients. High vaccination rates also provide a greater assurance of safety in other high-risk settings, where distancing or reduced contact is not possible.

If a vaccination requirement is not an option, we recommend these clear steps:

  1. Infection Screening Protocol. Require a protocol for employees and regular visitors (not retail customers) to be routinely screened with a rapid test, typically twice weekly. Repeated negative tests provide a high degree of certainty that the individual is not infectious. More frequent testing should be done in higher-risk settings where appropriate and practical.
  2. Proof of Vaccination. Allow anyone who provides proof of full vaccination (accounting for the appropriate time period after the final vaccine) to bypass the routine testing requirement.
  3. Incentives for Vaccination. Offer cash incentives to employees, including cash payments and paid leave to get vaccinated. Offer easy access to vaccination where possible.
  4. Mask Use. Mask use should follow the latest recommendations from the CDC, which currently advise indoor face coverings in public indoor settings in substantial or high prevalence zones. Where masks are needed, N-95s or their equivalent offer the highest level of protection. The steps we have described can reduce the need for masks in controlled environments.

The #COVIDSafeZones recommendations are not a broad vaccination mandate. We believe they are consistent with established precedent and any state laws that prohibit broad vaccination requirements in places of business.

These recommendations are temporary measures until we are reliably back to low COVID rates and the public health threat is behind us. The recommendations can be combined with other steps such as improved ventilation and distancing.

We recognize that any protocols create some amount of burden and cost for businesses and your employees. Still, these will be relatively modest compared to the significant cost of ongoing disruption and uncertainty in business productivity and in people’s lives.

Many of you in one-on-one conversations with us have expressed a desire to follow the types of policies we are recommending. A growing number of businesses and government agencies have already taken these steps. But we recognize there is momentum for collective action, so no business feels disadvantaged and the impact of these steps is maximized. We believe if you take visible action, many more will follow.

With your leadership, we will beat this pandemic. But this cannot be done with actions from the federal government alone. Private sector leaders have a critical role to play. We believe these recommendations balance respect for public safety and individual liberty, and we hope you will adopt them to move our country forward together.

Signed By

Jerome M. Adams

20th Surgeon General of the United States

Barbara D. Alexander

President, Infectious Diseases Society of America; Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Duke University

Melody C. Barnes

Fmr. Director, White House Domestic Policy Council

Georges C. Benjamin

Executive Director, American Public Health Association

David Brailer

Fmr. National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

John Bridgeland

Co-Founder & CEO, COVID Collaborative; Fmr. Director, White House Domestic Policy Council

Robert M. Califf

Prof. of Cardiology, Duke School of Medicine; Fmr. FDA Commissioner

Richard Carmona

17th Surgeon General of The United States; Distinguished Professor University of Arizona

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Co-Founder, Vaccinate Your Family

Raymond G. Chambers

Co-Founder, COVID Collaborative; WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy

Michael Crow

President, Arizona State University

Tom Daschle

Fmr. U.S. Senator (D-SD); Fmr. Senate Majority Leader

Carlos del Rio

Professor, Emory University School of Medicine; International Secretary, National Academy of Medicine

Karen DeSalvo

Fmr Asst Secy for Health (Acting), Natl Coordinator for HIT, and New Orleans Health Commissioner

Mark Dybul

Co-Director, Georgetown Center for Global Health & Impact; Fmr. ED, Global Fund for AIDS, Malaria, TB; Fmr. U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Gary Edson

President, COVID Collaborative; Fmr. Deputy National Security Adviser

Joycelyn Elders

15th Surgeon General of the United States

Ezekiel J. Emanuel

Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, Co-Director, Healthcare Transformation Institute, Levy University Professor, Perelman School of Medicine and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Fmr. Special Advisor on Health Policy, Office of Management and Budget and National Economic Council

Julio Frenk

President, University of Miami; Fmr. Minister of Health, Mexico

Tom Frieden

President & CEO, Resolve to Save Lives; Fmr. Director, CDC

William H. Frist

Fmr. U.S. Senator (R-TN); Fmr. Senate Majority Leader

Monica Gandhi

Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief, University of California, San Francisco

Scott Gottlieb

Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Fmr. FDA Commissioner

Margaret (Peggy) Hamburg

Fmr. FDA Commissioner; Fmr. Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Medicine

Ashish Jha

Dean, Brown University School of Public Health

Rebecca Katz

Professor and Director, Center for Global Health Science and Security, Georgetown University

Vanessa Kerry

Director of Public Policy and Social Change, Harvard Medical School

Mike Leavitt

Fmr. U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services; Fmr. Governor & U.S. Senator (R-UT)

Stephen Massey

Managing Director, Health Action Alliance

Mark McClellan

Dir, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy; Fmr. FDA Commissioner & Adm, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Lauren Ancel Meyers

Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Chris Murray

Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Chair and Professor, Department of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington

Melanie Ott

Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Deval Patrick

Fmr. Governor (D-MA)

Steven Phillips

Vice President Science and Strategy COVID Collaborative; Frmr. Medical Director, Global Projects, Exxon Mobil Corporation

Caitlin Rivers

Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Kathleen Sebelius

Fmr. U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services; Fmr. Governor (D-KS)

Robby Sikka

Chair, COVID Sports and Society Workgroup

Andy Slavitt

Fmr. Senior Adviser to COVID-19 Response Coordinator; Fmr. Acting Adm, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services CMS

Robert M. Wachter

Chairman, Department of Medicine, UCSF

Michelle Williams

Co-Founder, COVID Collaborative; Dean, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Philip Zelikow

Director, Covid Commission Planning Group; Professor, University of Virginia

Organizations

Accenture

Ad Council

Advocate Aurora

Alohilani Resort

Adventist Health Castle

AEG

Alaska Airlines

Allina Health

Alvarez & Marsal

American Airlines

Amgen

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Appalachia Regional Healthcare

Arena Stage

Arkansas Children's Hospital

Arkansas Heart Hospital

Ascension Health

Atlas Performing Arts Center

Atlanta Symphony

Atria Senior Living

Atrium Health

Banner Health

Barclays Center

Baylor Scott & White Health

Baystate Health

Beacon Health System

Benefis Health System

Beth Israel Lahey Health

BJC (Barnes Jewish Childrens) HealthCare

BNY (Bank of New York) Mellon

Bonanno Restaurant Group

Boulder Community Health

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Broadlawns Medical Center

Broadway Theaters

Bryan Health

Cape Fear Valley Health

Capital One

Cardinal Health

Care New England

CareOne

CastleBranch

CHI (Catholic Health Initiative) Saint Joseph Health

Children's Hospital of Colorado

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Christ Hospital

ChristianaCare

Cigna

CorpCGS (Computer Generated Solutions)

Cincinnati Children's Medical Center

Citibank

City Winery

Civic Enterprises

Civitas Senior Living

Columbia Sportswear

Cone Health

Connecticut Children's Hospital

Constellation Theatre Company DC

Cook Childen's Medical Center

CVS

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Dayton Children's

Deloitte

Delta

Denver Health

Disney World

Duke Health - Private Diagnostic Clinic

Duke University Health System

Durst Organization

Edward-Elmhutst Hospital

Eli Lily

Ellis Medicine

Emerson Hospital

Emory Healthcare

Enlivant

Envision Healthcare Corporation

Epic Systems

Episcopal Retirement Services

Equinox

Esperanza Health Centers

Essentia Health

Facebook

Fifty/50 Restaurant Group

First Avenue Music

Flushing Town Hall

Ford's Theatre Society

Froedtert Health

Frontier Airlines

GALA (Grupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos) Hispanic Theatre

Gap, Inc.

Genentech

Genesis Healthcare

Gilead Science

Goldman Sachs

Google

Hartford HealthCare

Hawaii Pacific Health

HealthCentene

Henry Ford Health System

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

HonorHealth

Houston Methodist

Inova

IntegraCare

Integral Senior Living

Jeffries Financial Group

JetBlue

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Juniper Communities

Justworks

Kadlec Regional Health Center

Kaiser Permanente

Keck Medicine of USC (University of Southern California)

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kettering Health

La Boca

Legacy Lifecare

Live Nation

Luminis Health

M Health

MaineHealth

Manpower Group

Marshfield Clinic Health System

Mary Washington Healthcare

Mass General Brigham

Mayo Clinic

McDonald's

Med Center Health

Memorial Hermann Health System

MemorialCare

MercyOne

Meritus Health

Methodist Dallas

MGM Resorts

Microsoft

Millinocket Regional Hospital

Milwaukee Film

MITRE

Molson Coors

Mount Sinai Hospital

Northwell Health

National Association of Manufacturers

National Jewish Health

Nemours Children’s Health System

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Netflix

NFL

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Novant Health

OhioHealth

Oregon Health & Science University

OrchestraBaptist

Palm&Pine

Parkland Health Center

PeaceHealth

Pfizer

Phoebe Putney Health System

Pioneer Natural Resources

Premier Health

Presbyterian Hospital

PUBLIC Hotel

Queen's Health System

Red Hat

Redfin

Rios Partners

Royal Caribbean

Sanford Health

Self Regional Healthcare

SCL Health

Sinceri Senior Living

SP2 Restaurant

Sofar Sounds

SSM (Sisters of St. Mary)Health

St Lukes University Health Network

St. Luke's Health System

St. Claire Healthcare

Statisitical Analysis Systems Instittue

Summa Health

Sutter Health

Swedish Health Services

Texas Children's Hospital

The Powell Companies Real, LLC

The Keg and I

The New York Times

The University of Mississippi Medical Center

The Walt Disney Company

The Washington Post

Tidelands Health

Transaction Network Services

TriHealth

Trilogy Health Services

Trinity Health

Tyler Perry Studios

Tyson Foods Inc

Uber

UC (University of Colorado) Health

UK (University of Kentucky) Healthcare

UNC (University of North Carolina) Health

United Airlines Inc

Union Square Hospitality Group

University of Maryland Medical System

University of New Mexico Health

UofL (University of Louisiville) Health

UW (University of Wisconsin) Health

Valley Children's Hospital

Valley Health

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vidant Health

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health

Virtua Health

Walgreens

Walmart

WarnerMedia

Washington Regional Medical System

Wellforce

Wesley Enhanced Living

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Yale New Haven Hospital

Op-Ed


VIEW OP-ED

Press

The COVID Safe Zone of American Companies Helps End the Pandemic

As COVID-19 Delta variants hit the country, more energy will be needed in the private sector to overcome this pandemic. That’s why the party and sector leaders are coming together to bring American businesses together to get the most out of vaccination and take other steps to ensure a safe workplace.

Dr. Mark McClellan, Andy Slavit, John Bridgeland Image credit: Scott Krantz

Public health leaders urge private sector to create #COVIDSafeZones

Beating this pandemic won't happen through actions by federal, state, and local governments alone, leaders say in an open letter.

Susan Morse Image credit: Morsa/Getty Images

Health leaders: We're asking American businesses to create #COVIDSafeZones. Here's how.

Our vulnerability to delta-driven COVID outbreaks is a competitive disadvantage given that other industrialized nations have higher vaccination rates.

Dr. Mark McClellan, Andy Slavitt and John Bridgeland

Democrats hit fiscal realities for healthcare dreams

Private workplaces need to establish safe zones for workers by requiring vaccination or implementing plans that incentivize vaccines while mandating masks and other measures, health leaders argued in a letter signed by former Biden, Trump, Obama, and Bush health officials, including former FDA commissioners Scott Gottlieb, Peggy Hamburg and Mark McClellan, former Biden advisor Andy Slavitt and former Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

Sarah Owermohle and Adam Cancryn

Slavitt: Companies requiring vaccines would make 'enormous difference' in fight against Covid-19

Former White House Senior Covid Response Advisor, Andy Slavitt, discusses the growing list of businesses requiring their employees and customers to be vaccinated against coronavirus as the delta variant drives cases up. He tells Stephanie Ruhle that “leading companies need to find a path to vaccinate the workforce.”

Bipartisan Leaders & Public Health Experts Urge Private Sector Leaders to Increase Vaccination, Establish #COVIDSafeZones

"Former Biden, Trump, Obama, and Bush Health Officials, among other national leaders, call on U.S. companies to boost vaccination in the workplace and take action to maintain safe spaces and prevent the spread of the Delta variant. Major employers including Accenture, Baptist Health, Centene, Computer Generated Solutions, Kaiser Permanente, and Live Nation have joined ""COVIDSafeZones"" and taken steps to maximize vaccinations of their workforce"

Perspectives: Arkansas Governor On Vaccination Mission; Steps Businesses Can Take To Create Covid Safe Zones

Opinion writers delve into covid, vaccines, booster shots, and future pandemics.

Various

Sanford Health invited to join national COVID Collaborative for its commitment to creating a healthy, safe workplace

Sanford Health, the largest rural health system in the country, has been invited to join the #COVIDSafeZones initiative along with other Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders committed to establishing and maintaining healthy and safe workplaces for employees, customers, patients and communities in the midst of the latest COVID-19 surge.

Sanford Health Image credit: Unsplash, Airfocus

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