The Food Depot Policy on Vaccinations
Adopted by Board of Directors on March 17, 2021
Revised and Approved by Board of Directors on August 9, 2021
Revised and Approved by Board of Directors on August 23, 2021
Revised and Approved by Board of Directors on August 30, 2021
Each of us is involved with The Food Depot for a reason – to protect the health of our employees and volunteers and to improve the health of the people we serve. We have watched multiple waves of Covid-19 sweep our population and 97% of hospitalized patients and 99% of deaths are now occurring in the unvaccinated population. Further, many of the people we serve are elderly and/or have underlying conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to severe illness and death.
“Covered Individuals” means all employees, volunteers, contractors and other persons entering any Food Depot facility, except persons served by The Food Depot. Volunteers who assist with The Food Depot activities outside the facility are also considered to be Covered Individuals (i.e., food distributions). Effective August 30, 2021, The Food Depot is instituting the following two-part policy:
1. All persons entering a Food Depot facility must comply with then current U. S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), State of New Mexico and local mandates and recommendations then in force to protect the health and safety of our people. An updated list of mandates and recommendations will be posted at all entry doors, in the volunteer rooms and on The Food Depot website.
2. All Covered Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and wish to enter a Food Depot facility or assist with an off-site Food Depot activity must submit to weekly COVID-19 testing and have documentation of a negative result from a test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. Covered Individuals are not required to satisfy this requirement for subsequent entry within the same calendar week. There are testing options available to New Mexicans at no cost. Employees who elect to use a different FDA-approved testing method may do so at their own expense (except as necessary as a medical or religious accommodation). Time taken for testing by employees will be covered by The Food Depot. Non-employees are responsible for any testing costs.
3. Regardless of vaccination status, individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are prohibited from entering a Food Depot facility or activity site until they meet the Department of Health’s criteria for ending isolation. For most individuals, this means: (1) at least 10 days have passed since symptoms appeared, AND (2) being fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, AND (3) symptoms have improved. For most asymptomatic individuals, this means that at least 10 days have passed since the positive test and no symptoms have developed in the interim. Different rules apply for people who experience severe COVID-19 infection or have a severe immunocompromising condition.
4. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and who have been in close contact (i.e., within 6 feet for a cumulative 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period) with someone with COVID-19 are prohibited from entering a Food Depot facility or activity site until they meet the Department of Health’s criteria for ending quarantine. Quarantine is not required following close contact with someone with COVID-19 if the individual is fully vaccinated or if they had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in the past 3 months and recovered (provided they remain asymptomatic after the exposure).
5. Employee absences due to isolation or quarantine will be considered excused due to illness and will require the use of accumulated Sick Time Off.
Effective September 9, 2021, all unvaccinated Covered Individuals entering a Food Depot facility or activity site must be fully or have at least received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Effective October 27, 2021, only fully vaccinated Covered Individuals may enter a Food Depot facility or assist at an activity site unless the Executive Director has agreed to provide the individual with additional time to meet the requirement or The Food Depot has approved an exemption. Proof of full vaccination should be submitted to The Food Depot by October 27, 2021 by providing a copy of their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. As with all identifiable employee medical information. The Food Depot will safeguard information concerning COVID-19 vaccinations in accordance with applicable law.
The Food Depot will consider any requests for accommodations for disabilities, pregnancy, religion or other exemptions on an individual basis in accordance with applicable legal requirements.
Employees requesting accommodations should request the accommodation in writing. Employees should explain the reasons why they are seeking the accommodation in detail. The Food Depot will request additional information or documentation it deems necessary or appropriate to inform its decision on an employee’s accommodation request. To request an accommodation, contact The Food Depot Executive Director. All persons entering a Food Depot facility or assisting at an activity site must comply with all future federal, state and local mandates and recommendations in force to protect the health and safety of our people.
Questions and Answers
How long do I have to get vaccinated?
Effective September 9, 2021, all Covered Individuals entering a Food Depot facility or activity site must be fully or have at least received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Effective October 27, 2021, only fully vaccinated Covered Individuals may enter a Food Depot facility or assist at an activity site unless the Executive Director has agreed to provide the individual with additional time to meet the requirement or The Food Depot has approved an exemption. Proof of vaccination should be submitted to The Food Depot by October 27, 2021 by providing a copy of your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
What if I have already submitted proof of vaccination? Any Covered Individual who has already submitted proof of vaccination will not need to re-submit documentation and will not need to take any action in response to the vaccine requirement at this time. Covered Individuals who are vaccinated but have not submitted proof of vaccination are asked to do so immediately.
How can I get vaccinated?
You can register through the New Mexico Department of Health for a time and location that is convenient for you. Many local pharmacies offer walk-in appointments for ages 12 and older. The Food Depot will cover the time taken to get vaccinated and to recover from the effects of the vaccine.
What should I do if I’m concerned I have a disability or medical condition that would prevent me from getting vaccinated? You should talk to your doctor to see whether and how you can get vaccinated safely. If you cannot be vaccinated, you should request an exemption as noted above.
May I comply with this policy by accessing the vaccine of my choice?
You can use any COVID vaccine approved by the FDA or a vaccine for COVID that has emergency use authorization.
Are there any exemptions other than those described in the Policy? No.
Are independent providers required to be vaccinated? Yes. Each one will be required to follow a process set out by The Food Depot to show proof of vaccination.