Keep The Vaccine and Masking Mandate — For Shoppers and Workers


Dear Editors,

My partner is immunocompromised and their health has declined significantly due to long COVID. The Coop’s recent decision to remove the vaccine mandate for workers risks pushing out families like mine. Although the city is no longer mandating that private employers impose a vaccine mandate, employers are still free to impose such mandates. They are not required to lift their mandates, as the Coop has chosen to do—with no opportunity for members to weigh in. Worse still, the Coop is also considering removing its mask mandate. Such a move would devastate members who are disabled, elderly, pregnant or immunocompromised, and everyone in their households—folks like me who can’t afford to carry risks home. 

Both the CDC and the city are downplaying the risks of COVID and long COVID in the interest of returning to “business as usual.” The Coop must do better. Even if the current community levels of COVID are low—a situation that is very likely to change as the weather gets colder and the holiday season begins—the risk to the most vulnerable remains high, and the long-term effects of even “mild” cases can be devastating. In such a situation, a community like the Coop should be guided not by the will of the majority or what is easiest for most, but instead by practices that allow everyone to be together in as safe a way as possible. That is what disability justice and basic decency demand. The Coop should retain the general vaccine and masking mandates for workers and shoppers and permit exemptions based on medical necessity, just as it does with the work requirement.  

Households like mine have already been pushed out of most spheres of public life as basic safety measures have been abandoned. Don’t let the Coop leave us behind.

Adrien Lorenzo Weibgen