In an interview with Alex Vindman and Bianna Golodryga about the state of the world amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “Yeah, you have the freedom to wear no mask, but you know something? You’re a schmuck for not wearing a mask because you are supposed to protect your fellow members around you.”

Since then, he has admitted in an op-ed piece for the Atlantic that “calling people schmucks and saying ‘Screw your freedom’ was a little much, even if I stand by the sentiment.”

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Eric Morath caught my eye when it brought up the discussion of jobs mandating vaccinations from new hires. The employment site, Indeed, revealed that the number of job postings requiring vaccinations has almost doubled in the past month.

While these are the job postings themselves, and not necessarily the official views of the companies and its officials, this raises a heated debate.

With only 1.1% of Covid-19 hospitalizations reported as vaccinated individuals, according to the Associated Press, the question “Should employers require Covid vaccinations from new and current hires?” begs for an answer.

Many businesses already have precautions in place, with social distancing and mask mandates, but we have a bigger problem. When I read through this article, a question of morals came up.  A dilemma that we must address. Arnold Schwarzenegger says it best. “With freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. We cannot just say ‘I have the right to do X, Y, and Z’ when you affect other people.”

Yes, you have freedom to your actions, but as a business owner, you answer to more than yourself. You have responsibilities to your employees and clients. How are you creating and maintaining a safe place for your employees to work? It can’t be a safe environment for some employees, but not all. Where do you draw the line?

Mr. Schwarzenegger equates the pandemic precautions to a traffic light. “We put the traffic light at the intersection, so someone doesn’t kill someone else by accident…We have to come together, rather than fighting.”

Before the pandemic, I would have said that the most an employer can mandate is for their staff to be at the top of their game every day.

But we are not in normal times, and we need to stop reacting as if we are.

While a mandate is not necessarily the solution in every case, there is an exception to the rule. And we are living it. By permitting unvaccinated employees, you are allowing an environment that puts the rest of your office at risk. What kind of message is that sending to your other employees? Your clients? Your vendors?

Every morning, you ask your employees to come in and deliver their A-game. It is your obligation then, as their leader, to provide an environment where they feel safe, at ease, and protected enough to do that.

This brings me back to one of my favorite topics that I discuss with every business owner I speak to: If you have a clear mission–a goal that your entire company can base their actions on–it becomes infinitely easier to unite the efforts of your business and direct its path.

I’d much rather be talking about business plans and how they can help you, especially in this crisis.

Your first step is the health and safety of your staff.

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