By Pat Fong Kushida
President & CEO
CalAsian Pacific Chamber of Commerce
With many California small businesses still recovering amid the ongoing pandemic, many owners worry about keeping their businesses open, especially if employees are required to quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19. We believe the solution is clear: to stay safe and stay open, small business owners must encourage employees to get vaccinated and get their COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible.
First and foremost, boosters save lives. Our employees and customers are our family, and as small business owners, we should do everything we can to encourage healthy and safe behavior. Vaccines and boosters are proven to keep your immunity strong and protect you and your loved ones from being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19, including the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
Boosters are authorized and recommended for all persons 12 and older. Individuals 12+ who received the Pfizer vaccine and individuals 18+ who received the Moderna vaccine are eligible for a booster five months after their initial full series was completed. Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients are encouraged to get boosted two months after their first vaccination.
Visit MyTurn.ca.gov or call 833-422-4255 to find a booster near you.
The benefits to businesses and workers are significant. In the event of close contact with a COVID-positive person, asymptomatic people who are vaccinated and boosted, or recently vaccinated, can skip quarantine, according to the California Department of Public Health. They should still test on day five after their contact with the COVID-positive individual, and mask for 10 days.
Unvaccinated people who come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 are required to quarantine, also in accordance with the California Department of Public Health. Even if they test negative, they must quarantine for five days and follow state guidance.
We already know that getting vaccinated and boosted prevents serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Now, we can add to the list of benefits: getting boosted also prevents asymptomatic people from having to quarantine, potentially missing work and income, as well as missing out on other important events.
Small business owners can rest assured that employees who are vaccinated and boosted or recently vaccinated are allowed to stay on the job, provided they have no symptoms of COVID-19. We know that when employees are vaccinated and boosted, small businesses can stay open safely. This is all the more reason to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted. Together, we can protect the health and safety of loved ones and ensure California’s businesses can thrive.
To schedule an appointment for a vaccination or a booster, visit MyTurn.ca.gov, or call 1-833-422-4255. Support is available in more than 250 languages.
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Pat Fong Kushida is the President & CEO of CalAsian Pacific Chamber of Commerce and also serves as President/CEO of the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce (SACC) since 1998, and President/CEO of the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (CAPCC) formed in 2010. Pat is a known as a visionary, entrepreneurial leader dedicated to strengthening California’s ethnically diverse business community and create economic development opportunities for Asian Pacific Islander business organizations to prosper. The CalAsian Chamber was founded in 2010 to give a voice to the over 600,000 AAPI- owned businesses in California. Today, the CalAsian Chamber is the largest statewide ethnic chamber in California, with the mission to grow and empower the AAPI business community throughout California. Visit calasiancc.org to learn more.