PORTLAND, Ore. — At the Rose City's Columbia Sportswear, employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. CEO Tim Boyle is a big fan of doing everything possible to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The company has offered employees incentives to roll up their sleeves to get the shot.
"We thought they were encouraging enough," Boyle said. "They weren't."
Now, Boyle's push to get his workforce vaccinated is getting a boost from President Joe Biden.
On Thursday, the president announced that all U.S. employers with 100 or more employees would have to require their workers to be vaccinated. Columbia Sportswear falls into this category.
"I know there's a lot of confusion and misinformation, but the world's leading scientists confirm that if you're fully vaccinated your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is very low," Biden said.
The president's mandate is part of a six-point initiative to curb the spread of the virus.
"It's so important and good to have a leader stepping forward and saying, 'listen we need to do this as a nation.' That it's critical. And I'm just thrilled with it," Boyle said.
The president's initiative says employees who refuse the vaccine will have the option to get tested weekly.
"We're still working through the Bureau of Labor-focused rules which we don't know what they are specifically, but we'll comply with them whatever they are," Boyle said.
McMenamins, which has brewpubs, music venues and hotels across Oregon, is another local employer with more than 100 workers.
The company sent KGW a statement saying they have complied with federal, state and county mandates throughout the pandemic, and they will continue to do so. However, they will wait for more guidance from the federal government before putting the new policy into practice.
Daimler, a commercial truck manufacturing company based in Portland, is another employer with more than 100 employees. When KGW reached out, the company declined to comment on the new vaccine mandate.
Meanwhile, Columbia Sportswear, Tim Boyle is hopeful the new vaccine requirements will lead to something positive.
"If the company is going to be back to a normal operating condition, if our country and the globe are going to back to the normal operating conditions, we need to get many, many more people vaccinated," he said.