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Can Companies Mandate Masks? What About Vaccines? Tri-State Chambers Tackle COVID Questions Facing Employers

mug sits next to a laptop. a large zoom meeting is on the laptop screen
Chris Montgomery

Can employers mandate masks? What about mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations? These questions and more are expected to top the list of issues panelists will address this week.

The Northern Kentucky Chamber and Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed are hosting a webinar for employers Tuesday. The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is hosting a similar event Thursday.

"To have a healthy economy we need to ensure we have a healthy workforce. To achieve this, it’s critical for the region’s business leaders stay informed and equipped to handle the range of questions and new information coming out daily about COVID-19 to keep people healthy and working,” said Jill P. Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Regional Chamber in a statement to WVXU. “Our panel on Friday will help employers throughout the region understand and make good decisions about whether vaccine requirements make sense for their employees.”

Featured speakers will cover internal business policies and procedures, including perspectives in medical, legal, human resources and public health fields, says Cincinnati USA.

The goal is to help everyone get accurate information, according to Gene Kirchner, senior vice president and COO with the NKY Chamber.

"There's so many questions in the business community and the community at-large around vaccinations, where we are with that, what's the truth as it relates to trials and vaccination rates, and where we need to get to in order to achieve that herd immunity that we're all desperately seeking," he says.

Additionally, he says the chamber is hearing questions - lots of questions - about best practices when it comes to masking, vaccines and what they can and can't require of employees.

The NKY Chamber is taking a stance, something for which it and other Northern Kentucky leaders were praised when Gov. Andy Beshear spoke in Covington last week.

"Good health is good business," Kirchner says. "That's our stance. ... We do support the rights of employers to require vaccinations if they so desire, and we're encouraging the Get Out The Vax effort across the region because we recognize the fact that in order for our economic recovery to continue we need folks to be able to stay open and not be in lockdown."

The NKY Vaccination Rates: Implications for Employers webinar is Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 1-2 p.m. Registration is free but required in order to receive the link.

Panelists include:

  • Moderator - Allyson Cook, president and CEO of Erigo Employer Solutions
  • Rob Hudson, attorney at law, Frost Brown Todd
  • Theresa Nelson, attorney at law, Graydon
  • Tim Schroeder, chairman and CEO of CTI
  • Steve Divine, interim director with the Northern Kentucky Health Department

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's Vaccine Requirements, Public Health, and Your Employees is Thursday, Aug. 26 from noon to 1 p.m. Registration is necessary to receive the link.

Panelists include:

  • Chad Eckhardt, attorney at law, Frost Brown Todd
  • Debbie Hayes, chief executive officer, Christ Hospital
  • Jeffrey Lindemann, attorney at law, Frost Brown Todd
  • Kate Schroder, interim chief strategy officer, The Health Collaborative
  • Deana Taylor, vice president of human resources, 3CDC

Cincinnati Public Radio receives financial support from Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.