You asked for it and we listened. In this column, we ask operators of all sizes and from all walks of the industry a question about their business and report their answers so you can assess how your own company compares to your peers. If you would like to participate, please email Rob Smentek at firstname.lastname@example.org for next issue’s question.
TOPIC: When the vaccine becomes available, will you request/require your staff and chauffeurs to get it? Are you planning on getting the vaccine?
Stay tuned for more responses to this week’s question in the December issue of Chauffeur Driven.
I feel that our clients will help to create the narrative of whether our chauffeur staff will be vaccinated. Prior to COVID, employers and clients never asked the question nor batted an eye whether an employee or vendor had any immunization or vaccinations as a mandate for eligible work status. My belief is that time will tell if the vaccinations will be made mandatory for entry into public areas and private work sites. How the vaccine will be deployed and distributed to the private sector, as well as to the public, over the next six months will determine the optics of how global corporate employers will demand vaccinations for all support vendors. Unless my clients require my staff to be immunized, I will not make it mandatory for my staff. As far as myself taking the vaccination, I will be taking a wait-and-see approach; I am apprehensive considering that the shelf life of immunization for the vaccination to stay effective is six months. This means that I would have to have two inoculations per year to be immunized to all current COVID strains.
Michael Barreto, President/Founder
Metropolis Passenger Logistics in Philadelphia, Pa.
I will personally not be mandating or requiring my staff or chauffeurs to get the vaccine. I believe it is a personal decision for an individual to make. I trust my employees will make the best decision for themselves, as well as their families and the safety of their passengers. We will still follow all precautions and regulations regarding COVID sanitation measures and chauffeurs will still be required to wear a mask. We will also not mandate or require our passengers to be vaccinated to use our services. Although masks are appreciated, we do not require our passengers to wear masks in the vehicle if they do not wish, since most of our vehicles have a partition between them and the chauffeur. Overall safety is our top priority, chauffeurs and passengers will still be monitored for symptoms and are asked to not travel if any symptoms occur. These measures, so far, have been effective in keeping our passengers and chauffeurs safe and healthy.
As far as myself receiving the vaccine, I would like to wait until the vaccine has had a bit more testing before making a decision.
Abdou Brahim, Owner
VA Executive Sedan & Limousine Service in Virginia Beach, Va.
We will require our staff as well as all our chauffeurs to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This also will be highly encouraged for staff or chauffeurs who want to work at Premiere. We transport a vast quantity of medical patients now that are very compromised health-wise. We also bus around various government entities, colleges, and universities. Some of these institutions have already asked what we were going to do when the vaccine comes out.
The vaccine requirement also falls in line with the safety protocols that we have in place now. We require all chauffeurs to wear a mask and 10 specific vehicles (sedans, SUVs, and vans) have dividers in them, which is in addition to disaffecting and electrostatic cleaning we do every night. I strongly believe that getting everyone vaccinated increases the quality of the company as well as the safety for all involved.
David Brown, President
Premiere Transportation in Albany, N.Y.
When the vaccine becomes available, we will suggest that team members get vaccinated, while always respecting their own opinions and objections. It will be an optional—not mandatory—order. We believe every person has the right to choose if they are comfortable or not taking the vaccine, particularly since it’s not 100 percent effective yet, and not obligated by the government. We will keep following all CDC guidelines, plus sanitizing the vehicles pre-ride and installing partitions in every vehicle. We’ve also continued to add layers of protection in our cars and office so we can protect even more our clients and team members.
Fernando Carlison Jr., Co-founder/CEO
Mundi Limousine in Deerfield Beach, Fla.
I think requiring employees to be vaccinated will possibly come with its own set of liabilities both in the short- and long-term that no one can yet predict. The chance of the vaccine going sideways or potentially creating harm to the employee is too much of an unknown risk we would be willing to undertake at this time. I am not planning to take the vaccination for the same reasons; long-term effects are yet to be determined.
Tracy Raimer, Executive Vice President
Windy City Limousine & Bus in Chicago, Ill.
We don’t require flu shots or any other vaccines; however, we do require a DOT physical. I feel that the DOT physical is the transportation industry’s standard to which we should all abide by. To then pick-and-choose mandatory requirements almost insinuates that the DOT physical isn’t robust enough.
As far as requiring the vaccine, that’s a company-by-company choice, and equally important, a person-by-person choice. As of this writing, I don’t think that I would require the vaccine. I would strongly recommend that each person discuss with their health care provider to determine if it’s right for them. All of our health situations are different, and we should not be making blanket requirements when we are not medical professionals.
Tracy Salinger, President
Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa.
This is probably one of the most perplexing questions to be considered in our lifetime. With various established laws and regulations, it becomes extremely difficult for an employer to mandate a medical treatment that may be contrary to an individual’s own philosophical and/or potential religious beliefs, let alone disclose a medical condition or treatment. Inasmuch as health and safety of every citizen is paramount, from a business perspective this may impinge on a protected topic that should not be broached by corporate America. In my opinion, we will have to do some more research, ensure a vaccine (once widely available) is safe, and then allow our employees the ability to decide the correct course of action for themselves.
Jeff Shanker, Chief Strategy Officer
Black Tie Transportation & Bus Charters in Winston-Salem, N.C.
When the vaccine is available, I plan on taking it. I also plan on strongly recommending that my staff and drivers take the vaccine to protect them from the virus.
We need to continue to do all we can to help the traveling public feel comfortable with getting back in our vehicles. I feel confident that the vaccine will be safe and that it will help us rebuild our struggling businesses. We must get back to sports and other large-scale events with full attendance as soon as possible.
Andy Thompson, President
Rose Chauffeured Transportation in Charlotte, N.C.
Good question, but as Americans we have the freedom to choose our own health options; we, as a company, cannot require anyone to get the vaccine. Each person will have to evaluate the pros and cons and make their own choice as I personally would not want the liability of asking anyone to get a vaccine and take the risk of being sued or responsible for a negative reaction.
Barbara White, CFO & Co-owner
VIP Transportation Group in Orlando, Fla.
Although I’m personally not a fan of getting the vaccine, I think the industry as a whole will have to get the shots. After this disastrous year, beggars can’t be choosers. We need all of the business we are able to get.
Matthew Winston, President & CEO
Relaxed Equipment Leasing in Topeka, Kansas
We are unsure of how well we'll proceed with the vaccine since most of our team has already gotten infected by COVID-19 and they now carry antibodies. We will be moving step by step to see what’s happening in the world, and we will be making decisions after close analysis.
Evgeny Zhukov, Founder/CEO
Z Brothers Chauffeur Service Worldwide in Moscow, Russia
We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!
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