INDIANAPOLIS — Central Indiana universities and hospitals are not the only employers requiring or considering COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Many local businesses and organizations are weighing their options, too.
Indianapolis-based First Person Advisors tells WRTV it's helping hundreds of clients navigate this topic, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
"At the ISO, our priority is on safety for our guests and for our staff. So, that really drove our decision to ask our employees to get vaccinated or to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test," James Johnson, CEO of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra said.
Following the FDA's full approval of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine, guests and employees can do one of two things: show proof of full vaccination or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
After November 1, ISO will require everyone to show proof of full vaccination.
Cameron Troxell, the Vice President of Benefit Strategy at First Person said ISO's policy does include exemptions for religious or medical purposes.
"We're really a people first type organization and that's the way we provide counsel to our clients is to think through the lens of their employees, their families, and their patrons, and to do what's right for the culture and the fabric of their organization," Troxell said.
Out of 150 employees at ISO, some have expressed concerns about getting the vaccine, but no one has resigned.
"That's certainly a concern. I think that unfortunately we're too early to tell. Many of the employers that are requiring a vaccine or taking any of the other approaches, the terminal day hasn't quite hit yet so it's a wait-and-see moment," Troxell said.
As guests prepare to attend shows at the historic Hilbert Circle Threatre this fall, they will be encouraged to download the Bindle app, which is a secure wallet for your health records and an easy way to share your COVID-19 health status.
"You have to have a negative COVID-19 test or your CDC vaccination card, and it enables you to very quickly show that you are good to go," Johnson said.
Johnson said the orchestra's policy is part of an effort to safely return to full capacity both on stage and in the audience, something that has not been possible since the pandemic began.
"We want to make sure we are able to play music during the pandemic and serve our community. That's what we live for as an orchestra, that's what our musicians are dying to do and we can't wait to get back on stage in just a couple of weeks," Johnson added.
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra opens their season on September 17. Face masks will be required.