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Vaccine mandates had been a contentious issue long before President Biden called on all employers with more than 100 employees to require workers to be vaccinated or be tested weekly. But some CEOs welcome the idea.
“We haven’t seen all of the details on it, but frankly, we’re thrilled that the playing field is being leveled … We had been talking about installing mandates across our company. This is really the only way to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control,” Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, told Yahoo Finance Live.
"We’re competing for workers like everybody else. We were concerned about impacting our service levels to our customers with the possible reluctance of our employees to be vaccinated. Now we’ve got great cover from the federal government, which makes it much easier for us to really mandate this,” he added.
Boyle tells Yahoo Finance that Columbia has locations that sometimes straddle two different counties or cities. A federal mandate would cut through various overlapping regulations to create a more streamlined process.
“We have some stores that are across two counties. So when you’re trying to comply with rules at city level, at county level and state level, and you have this kind of activity across your company, it’s very difficult. So we’re big fans.”
As far as the retail industry goes, Boyle says that Columbia centers around the tactile aspects of buying and selling products.
“As it relates to people being back in the headquarters, you know, we actually make physical products, tactile merchandise that has to fit and it has to appear nicely when people wear it, and people have to understand how it feels to their hand. So we have to have people in the business, in the buildings, looking at the products physically,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to getting everybody back in the building, frankly. We’re a creative company and we thrive on people interacting with each other and coming up with great ideas and innovations that can make people able to stay outside longer. That’s what our whole business is based on.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.