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Safe by Summer aims businesses toward 80% vaccination goal for their employees

With reopening on the horizon in Washington, business leaders in Clark County are coming up with creative ways to encourage workers to get their vaccines.
Credit: Tim Gordon, KGW

VANCOUVER, Wash. —
For 15 months, we've followed the pandemic trials and tribulations of businesses in southwest Washington.

Now as commerce gets going, the Safe by Summer campaign is a way to encourage unvaccinated workers to their shots.

The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and Identity Clark County are spearheading the campaign, which has a website where businesses can sign up, and a map there showing dozens of places that currently have vaccine.

“We want the employers to provide the education to their employees and to provide the convenience to their employees to get vaccinated,” said John McDonagh, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.

The goal is to support businesses as they to try and get 80-percent of their employees vaccinated by Aug. 15.

With the campaign just started, it already has more than two dozen businesses on board, from a large real estate development group, to a web designer and marketing company, to a toy shop.

And of course restaurants. We've talked to the owner of Beaches Restaurant & Bar in Vancouver over the course of the COVID crisis.

Mark Matthias is part of a group of business and business association leaders that helped develop the Safe by Summer campaign. Mathias thinks it’s the right thing to do for his crew, and others.

“We know that taking the vaccination is personal choice but if you truly want to get your life back this is the best solution to get there quickly,” said Matthias. So we just got together and thought we need to run with this as a community.”

While the pandemic is showing signs of fading, there is no doubt the virus can still take hold.

Case in point: Charter Communications Spectrum customer call center in Vancouver, closed by an outbreak last week. Over the last month, 29 employees tested positive for COVID-19 and two more are awaiting test results.

“We don't want a spike again, we don't want our business community to go back, because the damage that's already been done is horrendous,”  McDonagh said.

The safe by summer's 80% goal is lofty, but straightforward.

 “The easier we make it, the more informed we can make our employees become, the more of our population that are vaccinated, the quicker we get to rebuild our businesses and get back to some sort of normalcy.”

Safe by Summer hopes that engaging employees will also encourage their families to get vaccinated. And if you're a business outside Clark County, they don't mind if you sign up too.

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