The Potluck

Biden vaccine mandate will apply to 4,800 Minnesota businesses

By: - September 10, 2021 12:04 pm

Michele Catinella, a nurse practitioner at the John Knox Village Continuing Care Retirement Community receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Carmen Pi, a Registered Nurse with American Medical Response on Dec. 16, 2020 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Roughly 4,800 businesses employing 1.4 million Minnesotans will be subject to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate announced by President Joe Biden Thursday, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The mandate requires all people working for businesses with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The 1.4 million Minnesotans who work at companies of that size represent nearly half the state’s labor force.

The rule will apply to major companies headquartered here, including Target, 3M, Ecolab and Land O’Lakes. Still, it’s unclear how much effect the mandate will have since most working-age Minnesotans are vaccinated. As of Wednesday, more than 72% of people over 16 had at least one shot — nearly 3.2 million people — and 68.5% had the completed vaccine series.

Biden also announced a vaccine requirement for all health care workers at facilities that accept Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. Many of Minnesota’s largest health care systems already have vaccine mandates in place, including Mayo Clinic, HealthPartners, Essentia Health, Hennepin Healthcare and Children’s Minnesota.

Most Americans support vaccine requirements for health care workers and workers with public-facing jobs, like retail and food service, according to recent polling.

Minnesota reported 2,050 new COVID-19 cases Friday, as the state’s fourth wave of the pandemic enters its second month. Nearly 700 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, 185 of them in intensive care units. That’s almost double the number of hospitalizations from early August.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.