The U.S. reported a single-day record of COVID cases with more than one million new infections as the Omicron variant spreads across the country.
The total may be partly due to delayed reporting from over the holiday weekend, reported CNBC (Jan. 4). Even so, as of Jan. 3, the seven-day average of daily new U.S. cases is 480,273, the highest such metric of new cases in any country tracked by Johns Hopkins University.
With that, food businesses are taking new measures to slow the spread. Starbucks, for example, is now requiring its U.S. employees to be vaccinated by February 9 or submit to regular testing, reported The Wall Street Journal (Jan 3).
Those who opt for regular testing must have a pharmacist or doctor administer it and will have to cover any costs for the tests, the company said in a message to its U.S. stores. Workers must disclose their vaccination status by January 10.
The move makes Starbucks one of the first large restaurant chains to take this type of step and leaves one to wonder if it’s setting a precedent for other food-related companies.
Some big U.S. cities, such as New York, have been requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining for months. Now, in light of Omicron, more are following suit, reported CNN (Dec. 22). Here’s a few of the latest:
- Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced on December 20 that the city would require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, among other indoor activities, for both patrons and employees.
- Chicago began requiring proof of vaccination for most businesses that serve food and drinks on January 3. Unvaccinated employees of those venues will have to go the testing route.
- Philadelphia also began a similar mandate on January 3. For the first two weeks of the mandate, businesses may accept proof of a negative test taken within the past 24 hours instead of proof of vaccination. Starting January 18, only the fully vaccinated may enter.
PREVIOUS EUROPEAN HOTSPOTS TAKE PRECAUTIONS
Countries hard hit during previous waves of the pandemic, such as Italy and France, are taking extra precautions when it comes to Omicron.
- France is instituting a three-week ban on eating and drinking on public transportation, theaters and sporting venues as it seeks to curb the spread of COVID-19, reported Fortune (Dec. 31). The country also placed a ban on all nonessential visitors to and from the U.K. several weeks ago.
- After seeing its highest one-day total of infections ever, Italy again tightened restrictions, placing emphasis on the unvaccinated, reported ABC News (Dec. 23).