Johnson City construction firm receives Tenn. Comptroller’s exemption from COVID limitations

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Summers-Taylor, Inc. in Johnson City has received an exemption from Tennessee’s law that restricts an employer’s ability to require COVID-19 vaccinations or testing.

According to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury website, Summers-Taylor was exempt as of Monday, Nov. 15.

A statement from Summer-Taylor president Grant Summers states that Tennessee’s limitations put certain contractors in contravention to federal law.

“While the OSHA ETS mandate for all businesses with over 100 employees has been held up in court and seems likely to be overturned, there is still a mandate for federal contractors. We work in some sites and for some owners which receive direct federal funding or are direct federal agencies. In these locations, we are required to comply with this mandate.”

Grant Summers, President of Summers-Taylor, Inc.

Summers said in the statement that because of some of the sites tied to federal funding, Summers-Taylor must keep track of employee vaccination status.

“Our state lawmakers provided the exemption option for exactly these scenarios,” the statement reads. “Even within these environments, there are accommodations for medical and religious exemptions. We will assist our employees who legitimately fall within these categories to comply with federal regulations as well.”

Summers wrote that the is important to the firm to continue working at the sites referenced.

Summers-Taylor emphasized in the release that the company is not mandating its employees to be vaccinated.

“We will strive to staff our jobs that have certain requirements on a voluntary basis, with those employees who have chosen to be vaccinated on their own,” the statement reads. “We do however hope that the majority of our employees choose to be vaccinated, not only to help comply with our project requirements, but also for the health and safety of our workforce and the region as a whole.”

In addition to the construction firm, East Tennessee State University has also received an exemption from the law that resulted from the Tennessee General Assembly’s Extraordinary Session.

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