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Is A Vaccine Mandate Right for Fashion?

Is A Vaccine Mandate Right for Fashion?

27 August 2021
Author: Jasmine Waters

To vaccine or not to vaccine… that continues to be the question. While the wider world is focussed on the race to vaccinate, it poses serious questions for industries in business. In order to return to physical consumption, many are in agreement that as many safety measures as possible will ensure consumers feel confident enough to frequently return to stores. As a vaccine mandate is being proposed, is it the right move for fashion to adopt?

What are countries doing?

In countries like France and Indonesia, shoppers are being asked to present digital verification of vaccination to enter buildings such as shopping malls. As the Delta variant continues to increase, there’s pressing concern over how to cap the number of cases while enabling the general public to return to normality. As a result, the knock-on effect for businesses could be huge. Physical stores still hold an extremely unique power, acting as the space where consumers typically spend more in one visit than online, particularly at higher margins. Brands are beginning to see an uptick in sales following months of disruptive lockdowns, but a decline could once again be on the horizon if the Delta variant isn’t contained.

Will a vaccine mandate happen?

Not only is the safety of returning consumers prevalent, but brands are now under bigger scrutiny to consider the well-being of their employees. With the idea of a vaccine mandate currently in circulation, is it the right call for fashion? There could be a real logistical challenge, as some countries still lack the tech infrastructure to implement efficient vaccine checks. Beyond this, the topic of vaccines is extremely dividing. Retailers may have a large percentage of their consumer base that aren’t comfortable with—or are extremely against—vaccines to begin with. If consumers retaliate, it would be up to store staff to deal with the backlash, many of whom could be driven to quit in a time when staff shortages are another serious issue. 

It may be easy to say we can strip away the politics, but vaccines are undeniably wrapped up in it. If a mandate came into law, it would undoubtedly give retailers some sense of security and power. Although it may tell us a lot that governments haven’t yet opted to do this, it will continue to be retailers that need to call the shots—and there continues to be no ‘right’ answer.

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/@thirdman

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