KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Unvaccinated employees at Delta Air Lines soon will face an extra $200 a month charge to be on the company’s health plan.
The policy may spread to other private employers as companies seek a return to profitability and normal business operations.
Delta’s CEO says the average bill for hospital treatment for Covid-19 costs the airline $40,000 for each worker. The airline says all Delta employees who have been hospitalized in recent weeks were not fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated workers also must undergo weekly testing, paid for by the airline, beginning September 12.
In addition, on Sept. 30, Delta will stop extending pay protection to unvaccinated workers who get sick.
Unvaccinated workers immediately will be required to wear masks at all times while indoors in company environments.
Not all travelers on Delta agree with this change.
“I think that’s not right,” said Carlos Rivera, an unvaccinated traveler who’s flying from Kansas City to Buffalo, N.Y. “I mean a person should have a choice whether they want to be actually vaccinated or not. You hear all these stories about vaccinations and stuff and it seems to me the more they push it on you, the more people get hesitant from it, of getting the vaccine.”
This move comes after United Airlines said it would require employees to be vaccinated by September 27 or face termination.
Delta claims three out of four of its workers are vaccinated.
Nearly all airlines are reporting a slow down in customer bookings because of the coronavirus surge.
Air travel remains down more than 20 percent compared to 2019.
Other large employers, including Chevron and CVS Pharmacy, say they too will require workers to get vaccinated.