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Title: “How Employers Are Handling The Accelerated Reopening”
Guest: Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Jonathan Freedman – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jonathan (0s):
Welcome back to radio entrepreneurs. I’m Jonathan Freedman and our next guest is Mark Furman, director of Tarlow Breed, Hart, & Rogers, always a pleasure to see you on Radio Entrepreneurs, mark.

Mark (10s):
Hey Jonathan, great to be with you today

Jonathan (13s):
As always. So we’re in a world of change is always in a world of uncertainty. We’ve got businesses opening up. We have mass mandates being lifted. We have all types of changes growing up about which often leads us to, to you. And to ask that question of what do employers do now as, as offices are opening up, I think we’re probably going to see some sort of acceleration. I think the vision was sometime in the fall, people would start going back to offices. I think we’re going to see an acceleration of traffic on the roads is any indication. It looks like more and more people are out there.

Jonathan (53s):
And, and we’re gonna probably be in a situation where some people will hold on to their masks. Others will not. We seem to have guidance from the CDC that says, you know, if you’re vaccinated, you don’t need a mask. Does that mean if I wear a mask, I’m not vaccinated, we’ve got the honor system at play. So a whole bunch of challenges I think, is as things open up and don’t know if there’s any right or wrong answers, but it’s going to be a authority place for, for employers to navigate.

Mark (1m 19s):
Certainly is Jonathan and I. What I’m saying increasingly are the, the notion of a hybrid model for going back to work. So, you know, I, I have heard of some places that are where absolutely everybody has to be in the office. That seems to be the minority from what I, from what I hear, you know, my office, we’re talking about a hybrid model where people will be in a certain amount of time each week or every two weeks. But those people who can work more productively at home, no distractions, no commute.

Mark (2m 4s):
If that’s their preference, there’ll be able to do that. Some, none of this is finalized. It’s just thoughts at this point, Jonathan, but makes sense to me, it’s certainly different for someone who’s an empty nest or like I am versus somebody who has little kids in running around the house in terms of distractions. And then in terms of the mask,

Jonathan (2m 30s):
It’s a good thing. We don’t get it. It’s a good thing. We don’t get distracted by much at our ages, mark. I was on a fly that went by, where are we just talking? Sorry, I interrupted you. But in terms of the mass mandate, yes.

Mark (2m 45s):
So in terms of a mass mandate, you know, companies can require mass of patrons and employees if they choose to, there’s no constitutional right that I’ve been able to discover to not wear a mask. If you’re vaccinated, private companies get to decide, there are, you know, I don’t know that you can force people who to be vaccinated, who particularly those who have religious objections to the vaccines. But I think you can require that folks who aren’t vaccinated wear mask and practice social distancing.

Mark (3m 33s):
And that seems very reasonable to me to draw a distinction between those who were met, those who were vaccinated and those who aren’t. So on

Jonathan (3m 45s):
Mark, I want to stop you for one moment there because of what the one thing that I struggle with is where do we put up against HIPAA? You know, vaccinations obviously are a medical. I don’t know if it’s called a procedure medical activity is, is my disclosing whether or not I’m vaccinated, subject to HIPAA. If I choose not to disclose it or talk about it, is that my right? You know, I think there’s a little gray in this area. Yeah.

Mark (4m 14s):
Well, I think, I think folks because of those privacy issues are, are gonna use the honor system regarding whether you’ve been vaccinated or not those who have a mask requirement for those who haven’t been vaccinated. I also think, you know, people have different comfort levels with risks. So many people I know who have been fully vaccinated, still intend to wear a mask in public settings, which could include an office even. So even if they don’t have to, I think their own comfort level is going to determine it.

Mark (4m 59s):
You know, there’s been some breakthrough cases where people get COVID-19, even though they’d been fully vaccinated and the symptoms are much less and in some cases they’re not even noticeable and those people can transmit the virus. So if you have, so for example, in, in my family, I have a granddaughter who obviously hasn’t been back so negative. And the last thing in the world I’d want to do is unknowingly transmit COVID-19 to, to her.

Mark (5m 43s):
Now they say that in general, it’s not that big a deal for little kids. On the other hand, I read an article about what’s going on in Brazil, where they’ve had some very severe cases of COVID-19 and in kids. So

Jonathan (6m 6s):
I don’t think there’s enough enough unknown’s around it. That none of us want to be the one to transmit it to somebody else or to catch it. Right.

Mark (6m 14s):
So I think it’s, there’s a difference between, you know, what the government guidelines are going to be and what people are comfortable with. You know, I think the government guidelines say they can go inside in a restaurant, but still the inside in many restaurants is there’s very few people in there and people want to eat outside who go to restaurants. That’s a, people are more comfortable being outside, not everybody, but a majority, I would say from what I’ve seen, prefer to be eating outside and, or take out and go eat in your backyard or patio or inside with a small number of people.

Mark (7m 7s):
So it’s going to be evolutionary, you know, hopefully things will return to normal and that the variance won’t set us back so far, the reports are great on the impact of the vaccine, on the variance. So hopefully that continues to be protective. So I think, you know, people, you know, politically people talked about the right not to wear a mask. Certain folks have political particular political view, but there’s also, I think got a lot of people who are going to exercise their right to wear a mask, even if they don’t have to wear a mask because it’s a personal comfort level.

Mark (7m 58s):
So we’re, it gets really tricky, I think is, you know, where you have religious objections to the, to wearing, to getting vaccinated. And, but I, I li I think the appropriate balance, this is just me personally speaking, is if you’re not vaccinated, you need to practice social distance and wear a mask. And in a indoor setting where you have a lot of co-workers and public coming into, you know, an office or business, a store, whatever, it just makes common sense to me that you’d so practice social distancing.

Mark (8m 51s):
And, and we’re a mess.

Jonathan (8m 54s):
I put you in the minority though, mark Fermin years using common sense. You know, when our, now we’re talking about asking people to, to use judgment, which isn’t always good, but I hear what you’re saying, but it seems to me that we’re, we’re going to be for quite some time, in a period of newness unknown’s flux decisions on the fly, people trying to apply, you know, what is logic to them to a situation. And I, and I think, you know, it comes back to, in particular for businesses to have open dialogue and communication and hear people’s concerns, and then see if those concerns align with what your own beliefs and feelings are for your business.

Jonathan (9m 35s):
And what’s in the best interest of your business. You know, we, we pride ourselves on having freedom in this country. You know, the constitution affords us some freedoms and rights, but not everything. And so I think that we’re going to get into situations and see situations where people feel as though their rights are somehow violated because they’re being asked to wear a mask or vice versa. We’ve seen that already, but I think to your point, you know, individual businesses are free to make their own decisions when the mandates are dropped on a, on a state level or a municipality municipal level. And so I think we’re gonna get a lot of individual interpretation and decisions. And I think invariably that leads to disagreements and, and, and probably litigation somewhere along the way over these matters.

Jonathan (10m 20s):
I would imagine,

Mark (10m 22s):
I think so, but I do think that, you know, giving people the kind of freedom, not to have to be in the office every day, if it’s the kind of job that doesn’t require being in the office, such as what I do I think is, you know, giving people some, some freedom, you know, 16 months ago, I certainly didn’t think that I’d be going to court every court hearing on zoom or conducting every deposition on zoom, having so many meetings on zoom.

Mark (11m 11s):
It’s, you know, it’s, it’s rurally, it’s, it’s very different in that, you know, like everything else, it has its pluses and its minuses, but, you know, the lack of commute I must say is a wonderful, wonderful thing because it frees up frees up so much time during the day.

Jonathan (11m 37s):
Not, not only that, but I think we’re going to have a reemergence of road rage road rage, because I, I could see in my own itself, I have no tolerance for a minute of traffic after spending a year, you know, on the road and having no traffic now, now having locked slowdowns, everywhere you go is back to being a challenge. So people are going to have to adjust to that as well. But it’s interesting, you know, we, we all adjusted very quickly to the pandemic or most people did. And now I think it takes time to adjust back to the new normal. And, and I think that’s true.

Mark (12m 9s):
And, and certainly it’s been easy for certain people and very challenging for others. You know, so for me, where I can work remotely and go to court remotely and do depositions remotely, the impact on me is minimal, but I haven’t, I’m not a healthcare worker and I’m not working in an essential retail environment. And, you know, I haven’t been exposed to that many people I’ve been, I won’t say in hibernation, but it’s been, it’s certainly been different.

Mark (12m 50s):
And you can see how, you know, people’s behaviors changes. You have a, you know, this incredible demand for, you know, vacation homes, people who can afford that and, and for vacation rentals so that people can get out of the same place they’ve been for 16 months. And, you know, I think the ability to work for remotely for folks like may, you can allows you to actually be any place in the world and be able to be productive while you’re working.

Mark (13m 36s):
So, but you still need that, that company culture, spirit connectivity, hard to replicate that on zoom. We’ve tried, you know, we’re doing what we can kind of partners meeting this morning on zoom. It was good meeting. It’s different. You know, we’ve had a magician do zoom magic, incredible twice Adam back by popular demand, wine tasting, you know, trying to keep the connectivity of the organization together.

Mark (14m 24s):
Despite the fact that we’re physically apart,

Jonathan (14m 27s):
Keep people engaged, good stuff, mark Fermin of Tarlow, Breed, Hart and Rogers. People want to get in touch with you. What’s the best way for them to reach you.

Mark (14m 34s):
It can be reached at 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 5. That’s my direct line, or my email is and

Jonathan (14m 52s):
Good thing. Those modes of communication follow you everywhere in the world. So Mark from a Tarlow Breed Hart and Roger’s always a pleasure to talk to you, a pleasure to see you, and we’ll be right back with another segment on Radio Entrepreneurs.

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