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Major U.S. Airline Becomes First to Require Employees to Be Vaccinated or Risk Termination United is the first major U.S. airline to enforce such protocol.

By Emily Rella Edited by Amanda Breen

James D. Morgan | Getty Images

In an effort to help flatten the curve in the uptick of Covid-19 cases amid the rise of the Delta variant of the disease, many businesses and chains are reinstating mask mandates and enforcing vaccination policies for both customers and employees.

Making the first play in new policies in the airline industry is United Airlines, which announced on Friday that it will be requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by October 27, 2021 or risk employment termination.

United is the first major U.S. airline to enforce such protocol.

Related: American Airlines Will Cancel Hundreds of Flights Due to Staffing Shortages

In an effort to entice employees to get vaccinated sooner rather than later, United will offer one free pay day to employees that receive the vaccine before September 20 and to those who were previously vaccinated, Reuters reported.

United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart sent a note to employees admitting that they know some employees will "disagree with this decision" but that the company must do so in an effort to try to curb the virus.

"We have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you're at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated," the two said in a letter, per the NY Daily News.

Reports show that the airline industry as a whole lost around $370 billion in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, also seeing the total number of passengers dropping 60% from the same time the year prior.

United was up over 37% year over year as of Friday afternoon.

Related: Airline Infuriates Passengers After Adding Hidden 'Covid Recovery Fee'

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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