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Chipotle will not require its employees to get the coronavirus vaccine

Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO Brian Niccol said Tuesday that the company will “strongly encourage” employees to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that foodservice workers are placed next in line to receive the inoculation during phase 1c of vaccine distribution. They fall behind the elderly and essential workers, like mail carriers and bus drivers, who are currently being prioritized for vaccination.

As of Monday morning, 614,117 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine have been administered, according to CDC data. Roughly 4.6 million doses have been distributed so far.

But some restaurants, like Chipotle, are wary about the legal implications of requiring their workers to receive the vaccine.

“As of right now, we’re not going to mandate it,” Niccol said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

He added that the company will cover the costs associated with receiving the vaccine for employees.

Other chains that won’t require a vaccination include Cousins Subs, a Wisconsin-based sandwich restaurant. The company cited concerns about infringing employees’ medical rights.

Shares of Chipotle, which has a market value of $39.7 billion, have risen 69% so far in 2020. The company’s investments in its digital business have paid off during the pandemic, helping it recover much faster than the broader restaurant industry.

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