Retailers Detail Operational Questions for Vaccine Mandates

RILA, NRF offer insights for vaccine mandate guidance

In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) highlighted the considerable operational challenges of implementing a vaccine mandate for retailers, an industry that supports more than 50 million jobs. The letter poses key questions retailers want the agency to consider as it finalizes the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).

To ensure the overall operability and success of the ETS, retailers asked the Department to address questions regarding vaccination verification processes, testing capacity and costs, exemptions, and what remedial actions can be taken in situations where employees refuse vaccinations and testing. 

The letter notes:

“Retailers remain committed partners in the fight against COVID-19 and want to work collaboratively with the Administration to create workable standards and guidance.

“As we have navigated federal and state requirements, recommendations, and protocols, we have learned that it takes time to implement successful testing and vaccination programs—particularly in the face of challenges related to availability, access, and verification. As a result, we urge OSHA to consider the extensive measures that every company will need to undertake to implement the requirements of any ETS.

“The retail industry commends the Administration’s commitment to defeating the virus. Requiring employers to mandate vaccination and testing of all employees will require extensive coordination with employers and all levels of government. We look forward to working with the Administration to accomplish the goal of these new requirements: beating the virus.”

The full letter can be viewed here.


RILA is the U.S. trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

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