Yesterday, Governor Henry McMaster and SC DHEC announced that the state will advance to Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan beginning Monday, March 8th. The approach is based on the state’s recognition that risk increases with age, certain medical conditions, and certain occupations. The state’s goal is to have vaccines for everyone who wants one by this summer.
Beginning on Monday, March 8, the following groups will be allowed to begin making appointments:
WHAT IS A FRONTLINE WORKER?
The big question is what is a frontline worker and does it apply to employees in the alcohol industry - whether it be someone in the kitchen, tasting room staff, production employees, warehouse employees, or someone in the office. The state has provided the following definition of people it deems to meet this classification:
The state has provided the following examples of people it believes would qualify as a frontline worker:
DO I, MY EMPLOYEES, OR TEAMMATES QUALIFY?
As best we can tell, the state believes that the breakdown would look like this:
Production Employees: 1b
Tasting Room Employees/Bartenders: 1b
Wait staff: 1b
Retail Employees: 1b
Kitchen Staff: 1b
Delivery Drivers/Warehouse Workers: 1c
Office Staff (outside of front desk): 1c
WHO FALLS UNDER THE NEXT PHASES?
The state currently intends for Phase 1c to begin on April 12th. At that time, eligibility will be extended to those aged 45+, essential workers, and those whose work in essential job categories defined by the CDC but were not included in Phase 1b, such as delivery drivers, non-front desk office staff, and warehouse employees. Phase 2 is expected to begin on May 3, 2021 where eligibility will expand to all South Carolinians aged 16+.
HOW CAN AN APPOINTMENT BE MADE?
Beginning on Monday, March 8th, online appointments can be made by using scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or you can call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.
HOW IS ELIGIBILITY DEMONSTRATED?
When seeking vaccine services, people included in Phase 1b or 1c may show eligibility by showing an ID that includes their date of birth, verifying that they meet the criteria for a frontline or essential worker, or by verifying that they have an eligible high-risk medical condition. So, for our clients, we’d recommend providing a form or letterhead verifying employment and job responsibilities and a statement that the employee would qualify.
South Carolinians are urged to get vaccinated according to the state’s plan, and not to jump ahead of others.
Please contact our office if you have any questions.
Brook Bristow is a South Carolina-based lawyer at Bristow Beverage Law, who primarily counsels companies in the alcohol industry on business and employment laws, as well as on compliance, licensing, & intellectual property. You may reach him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org