August 13, 2021 9:00am

Serafin Power Poll: Employers Should Mandate Vaccines

Power Pollers’ companies considering pausing return to workplace

By Thom Serafin

Well, it seems like we will be living in unprecedented times for the foreseeable future, as the Delta variant brings a new wave of COVID cases. The good news is that the vaccines seem to be effective against the variant so, if you’re able, get the shot. With vaccine hesitancy slowing the rate of vaccination, it seems that Power Pollers are growing more comfortable with mandated vaccines.

Without a doubt, we’re in a much better place than we were in March of 2020: we know how to keep ourselves safe, we have a vaccine and businesses are open and operating. And yet the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations in some parts of the country is worse than it was at the start of the pandemic. With Dr. Arwady telling Chicagoans that the Delta variant is “very much here,” a majority of Serafin Power Poll respondents (56%) said their organization was reconsidering a full return to the workplace or reimplementing mask mandates. 29% said their organization wasn’t reconsidering the elimination of COVID measures, while 14% said they were unsure on how their organization would be handling the Delta variant.

Chicago isn’t yet implementing a vaccine “passport” program, but individual businesses can still choose to require vaccination as a condition of service, either to reassure customers or protect its own staff members. A majority (57%) of respondents said they were more likely to patronize an establishment that required proof of vaccination, giving them the peace of mind that everyone around them has had the shot. Another 30% said they were just as likely to patronize an establishment that asks for vaccine proof as they were to patronize one that doesn’t. A final 13% didn’t seem to like the idea of a private business asking for their vaccination status and said they would be less likely to go to an establishment that asked for vaccine proof.

As more and more companies mandate their employees receive the COVID vaccine as a condition of employment, we once again asked Serafin Power Pollers how they felt about employers requiring vaccination.

This month, 83% said that employers should be able to require vaccination, which is up from 67% in May and 52% in January.

Only 13% responded that employers should not be mandating vaccines, which is down from 28% in May and 26% in January.

A small fraction (4%) responded they were unsure if an employer should be able to mandate vaccinations, down from 8% in May and 21% in January.

Parents should be sure to add plenty of masks to their back-to-school shopping lists, after Gov. Pritzker announced a mask mandate for all Illinois schools. Though it feels like a step backwards, we know the impact that masks can have on slowing the spread. We asked Serafin Power Pollers how they felt about the school mask mandate: A vast majority of respondents agree with the mandate (48% strongly agree and 29% agree), while a smaller group thinks it’s unnecessary (12% strongly disagree and 5% disagree). Only 6% were neutral on the mandate.

Between statistics on the vaccine, guidance on masks and the latest on the Delta variant, there’s a ton of (sometimes conflicting) information constantly swirling around us. So we asked Power Pollers who they trusted most when it comes to guidance on COVID safety. A majority (62%) listen to the advice of government health agencies like the CDC and WHO, and just over one quarter (27%) of respondents said they most trusted their personal physician or medical network. The media lagged far behind, with only 10% trusting them for COVID information. And bad news for politicians: almost nobody (1%) is listening to them for COVID safety tips.

A total of 402 Serafin Power Poll members were surveyed and the participation rate was 25.12%. The Serafin Power Poll is not a scientific poll, but rather a fascinating and non-partisan glimpse into the attitudes and opinions of the decision-makers and thought leaders in the Chicago region.

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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