Goldman Sachs mandates COVID vaccine for staff, visitors at US offices

Goldman Sachs mandates COVID-19 vaccine for staff and visitors at all its US offices – a day after Biden told companies to force employees to get the shot

  • Anyone entering Goldman Sachs Group offices in the US from Tuesday must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19
  •  The bank will also require that masks be worn in offices regardless of vaccination status from Wednesday
  • Memo said fully vaccinated employees will receive weekly Covid-19 tests 
  • The memo came a day after President Biden told companies to start mandating vaccines for staff 
  • The President’s calls for all companies to make their requirements stricter is likely to face calls of federal government overreach and legal challenges 
  • Major companies including Amtrak, Walt Disney and Walmart have already required their workers to be immunized; and the Pentagon has said it will mandate all troops are vaccinated

Goldman Sachs Group Inc told employees that from Tuesday anyone entering its offices in the United States must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The bank will also require that masks be worn in offices regardless of vaccination status from Wednesday, while fully vaccinated employees will receive weekly COVID-19 tests starting on September 7, according to an internal memo.

The announcement came on Tuesday – a day after President Biden told companies to start mandating vaccines in a speech celebrating the FDA’s decision to grant full approval to the Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, a certification that public health officials hope will convince unvaccinated Americans that the shot is safe and effective.

Major companies like Amtrak, Walt Disney and Walmart have already required their workers to be immunized and the Pentagon have said they will mandate all troops.

But Biden’s calls for all companies to make their requirements stricter is likely to face calls of federal government overreach and legal challenges.

States including Florida and Texas have already fought back against vaccine mandates and believe it is a personal choice to get the shot.  

In June, Goldman was one of the earliest Wall Street banks to require that most employees return to offices, and the vaccine mandate is part of the effort to continue working at offices safely amid a resurgence in COVID cases.

Goldman’s new policy is in line with rival banks Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc, which also require vaccines at their U.S. headquarters.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc told employees that from Tuesday anyone entering its offices in the United States must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. This file photo shows the headquarters of Goldman Sachs in New York City

The bank will also require that masks be worn in offices regardless of vaccination status from Wednesday, while fully vaccinated employees will receive weekly COVID-19 tests starting on Sept. 7, the memo said

Three of the four largest U.S. banks – JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo – do not require vaccines for individuals at their offices.

Bank of America has asked that only vaccinated employees come into its offices when it begins formally welcoming people back in September.

COVID-19 infections are increasing in the United States at an average of about 150,000 cases a day, and are currently at 60% of the peak level of new daily infections reported in January, according to Reuters tracking data.

Biden, speaking at the White House, portrayed the FDA’s full approval of Pfizer’s shot as a huge victory even though it will be of limited practical value months after the vaccination received emergency approval.

Even so, he spoke directly to what he said were ‘millions’ of Americans who may have been waiting for full approval before trusting the jab – even though the shots have been going in arms since December 2020.

‘It has now happened,’ Biden said. ‘The moment you’ve been waiting for is here. It’s time for you go get your vaccine. Get it today.’

He pointed to a pickup in the pace of vaccinations amid a spike in hospitalizations and deaths among the unvaccinated.

‘The FDA approval is the gold standard,’ Biden said, amid information showing about a third of eligible Americans have declined to get the vaccine.

Dorit Reiss, a professor of law at UC Hastings College of the Law, told CNBC that firms may have felt wary of implementing full vaccine mandates until the shot got approval, even though they had the legal authority. 

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