TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Some cities across the country require vaccinations for entry into places, like restaurants, bars, or gyms. But in Kansas, small business officials are looking for other ways to keep people safe so they don’t have to turn much-needed customers away.
“It’s better resolved to let each business decision, each business owner, make their own decision as to what’s best for their company, and their employees, and their customers, versus a hard-blocked, government-imposed, sanction that has significant effects,” said Eric Stafford, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the city will require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who wants to dine indoors at a restaurant, see a performance or go to the gym.
Another major city in California, San Francisco, will also follow suit, as Mayor London Breed announced Thursday. The city will require proof of full vaccination at indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues to help keep businesses open.
The move comes as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread. As of Friday, state data shows 2,476 delta variant cases have been identified in Kansas.
The state has pushed efforts to keep the spread of the variant under control, hosting vaccine clinics and testing sites. Some school districts are enforcing wearing masks as schools reopen to avoid the risk of new coronavirus cases growing.
However, in Kansas, Stafford said there’s not “a whole lot of appetite” to have that kind of policy in place after seeing the economic impact of restrictions on businesses during the pandemic.
Many businesses were forced to shut down, which led to financial turmoil for business owners, some having to permanently close their doors.
Stafford said the Chamber’s conversations with legislators and Kansas Governor Laura Kelly have been focused on keeping businesses open. While he said he doesn’t know whether similar policies enacted in New York and California will become a reality for the state, he said it’s best to let businesses make their own decisions on how to operate.
“Let’s focus on safe businesses, safe practices, to ensure the safety of customers and employees to the best of our ability, and let each business decide what’s best for them because the impact was real.”