Governor, lawmakers call for businesses to implement vaccination policies

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The governor and several state, federal and local lawmakers are encouraging private businesses not only to require employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – but customers too.

Officials said it’s a necessity to stop the spread of COVID-19 as case numbers get higher and higher.

A letter that went out to local business leaders and associations encourages them to enforce their own vaccine policies.

Part of the letter stated:

"Requiring vaccination of your workforce – and/or requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test of the patrons who visit and support your business – is within your right as an employer. Implementing that sort of policy to help New Mexico finally end this pandemic is within your power as a community leader."

Matthew Dominguez, the general manager of Sadie’s, said that it’s not a bad idea, but it could hurt business.

"If it’s not mandated and jsut recommended, and we are part of only a handful of restaurants trying to implement something like that, then 100% I think that is something that would hinder us from getting new employees," Dominguez said.

Meanwhile, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce supports the move – and said some employers have already put mandates in place.

KOB 4 reached out to UNM law professor Josh Kastenberg about the recommendation. He said if companies pursue vaccine mandates – they can’t discriminate.

"What I mean by that is if someone has a legitimate religious belief or a medical condition, or they are protected by a union agreement, the company cannot just fire them," Kastenberg said.

As far as refusing service to unvaccinated customers, Kastenberg said that would pose no legal issue.

At this time, state employees are required to be vaccinated or get tested regularly.