By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank Neel Kashkari announced his decision to require COVID-19 vaccinations from employees Thursday.

According to a press release from Kashkari and the bank, the new policy will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of August to continue employment. The bank said that exceptions will only be made for those who cannot get vaccinated due to medical conditions or those with sincerely held religious beliefs.

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According to the release, 90% of it’s 1,100 employees moved to remote work when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Now over a year later the group is looking to move back into in-person workspaces, as is much of the country.

But Kashkari says to safely execute the transition vaccinations are a necessity.

“In order to fulfill our public-service mission, we need more face-to-face contact than remote work allows, but there is no way for us to bring a critical mass of our staff back into our facilities and maintain social distancing. Hence, we need our employees to be vaccinated,” said Kashkari.

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According to the press release, more than 82% of the reserve’s workforce are currently fully vaccinated, including all of their senior leadership team. Most of the remaining 18% have reportedly not disclosed their vaccination plans, and a small percentage have indicated they do not plan to get vaccinated.

Because of the group’s already high vaccination rate, Kashkari says it was an easy decision to ask the remaining employees to follow suit.

“We recognize that if our vaccination rate were lower, say 50 percent, this would be a more difficult decision. But with so many of our employees voluntarily doing their part to keep us safe, asking our remaining colleagues to also do their part just makes sense,” said Kashkari. “While some staff may be unhappy with this new requirement, we believe most will appreciate the actions we are taking on our collective behalf.”

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has confirmed that it is legal for employers to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to protect workers health and safety.