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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Half of America's small businesses are likely or certain to require their on-premise employees to be vaccinated, according to a Morning Consult poll of small businesses commissioned by American Express. That compares to 31% who say that such a mandate is unlikely or that they certainly won't impose one.

Why it matters: Many large businesses, from Facebook to Morgan Stanley, have announced vaccine mandates. New York City restaurants and gyms are also going to be fully vaxxed as of next month.

Between the lines: Many of those announcements came after the poll was conducted, between May 27 and June 24. As a result, the true number of small businesses likely to impose a mandate is likely higher than 50%.

  • The vaccine mandates aren't here yet. The Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey has started asking businesses whether, in the past week, they've required employees to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination before physically coming to work. In mid-July, some 5.5% of businesses answered yes, up from 2.2% in early April.

Of note: Small business owners are not much more vaccinated than the population as a whole, with 67% fully vaxxed as of when they were polled. Still, 34% of them went so far as to say that they would require proof of vaccination before allowing unmasked shoppers to enter their stores.

Methodology: The online survey was conducted between May 27-June 24, 2021, surveying 550 small business leaders, including 298 at the smallest small businesses (<20 employees), 152 at medium-sized small businesses (21-100 employees), and 100 at the largest small businesses (101-500 employees). The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 4 percentage points.

Go deeper

Biden sets a hard deadline for vaccine mandates

President Joe Biden spoke Wednesday about the authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden will announce Thursday that certain employers must ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or tested weekly by Jan. 4, 2022, or face federal fines starting at nearly $14,000 per violation, according to senior administration officials.

The big picture: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will enforce the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, which affects about two-thirds of all U.S. workers.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 4, 2021 - Economy & Business

The jobs impact of Biden's vax and testing mandate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House on Thursday unveiled rules requiring people working for private companies with at least 100 employees to be either fully vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.

Why it matters: This should significantly increase the number of vaccinated American adults, thus reducing death and virus transmission. It also could create a relatively small group of workers who are voluntarily unemployed.

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."