Fortune Bay Resort Casino, Bois Forte Tribal Government, and Bois Forte Business Development employees will need to receive a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by November 1. The tribal council approved the mandate in late September in response to concerns about the rising cases of the delta variant.
A press release issued Wednesday by the Fortune Bay Resort Casino in Tower said 25 to 30 employees have told their managers or managers that they will not get the vaccine. Requests for medical and religious exemptions will be reviewed and six requests for exemptions were filed on Wednesday.
Elizabeth Deegan, acting general manager of Fortune Bay, said the casino is already struggling with staff shortages and will assess staffing next week to see if schedules need to be changed. Human resources director Beth Adams said employees will have until Monday, October 18 to submit resignation letters.
“The number of those who have said they will not get vaccinated has decreased, but any loss of staff will be difficult to manage,” Deegan said in the statement.
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Bois Forte Tribal President Cathy Chavers told the council meeting that Native Americans face a higher risk of hospitalization and / or death from COVID-19 infection compared to non -Natives, and the mandate is an attempt to protect the communities of Nett. Lac and Lac Vermeille.
“We know there are employees who will not get vaccinated and that is their choice as an individual,” said Chavers. “But we are doing this to help keep our community safe. “
Bois Forte’s mobile vaccination unit will be on-site in Fortune Bay for employees to be vaccinated on October 21 and 27. Casino, Tribal Government and Business Development employees who refuse a vaccine and are not approved for an exemption can either resign or their employment will be terminated for malpractice for not following company policy. Adams said a resignation is preferable.
“Vaccination mandates have been imposed in several large companies and as one of the biggest employees in the iron chain we are not excluded from having to make tough decisions like this,” said Adams.