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Poll Points to Intense Differences Among LBM Execs over Vaccination, Masking Requirements

Construction supply companies across the country generally don't require employees to get vaccinations for COVID, nor do they require customers to wear a mask, but those policies could change depending on how the virus progresses, a Webb Analytics survey suggests.

The 141 responses to the Aug. 16-18 poll suggest dealers tend to fall into two groups. One wants their employees to get the jab without the company having to mandate they do so. The other questions the efficacy of vaccines and masks and/or rebels at the idea of forced action--by employers or by authorities. A third, much smaller group believes in the measures and has executed masking and/or vaccination requirements.

Webb Analytics created the survey to learn what's happening with dealers at a time when a number of large companies as well as government agencies have begun requiring their employees to get vaccinated for COVID or else agree to regular testing. Health officials say the overwhelming majority of severe COVID cases in recent weeks have been contracted by unvaccinated individuals. They also say masks reduce airborne transmission of the highly virulent COVID Delta variant, both from vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

More than 72% of the 141 respondents to the Aug. 16-18 poll said their companies don't require vaccinations now and have no plans to do so. That contrasts with just 2% that currently require employees to be vaccinated or else get tested regularly. Another 16% don't require vaccinations now but are thinking of doing so.

Twenty-five percent of the respondents estimated that no more than half of their company's employees are vaccinated, while another 23% put their estimate at 51% to 70%. That combined 48% compares with the roughly 70% of American adults who have received at least one shot. Here are the results:

What percentage of employees at your company have been vaccinated?

The totals for LBM employees could be higher, because 29% of the CEOs and other leaders answering the survey said they didn't know their company's vaccination rate.

There's almost an 80-20 rule in effect with the survey's question about whether the respondent's company offered incentives like extra pay or time off to encourage employees to get vaccinated. Of the 123 responses, 79% said no and 21% said yes.

Differences were stark in the attitudes about requiring customers to wear masks. Forty-five percent had no mask rules in place and no plans to do so. Another 35% don't require masks now, but might in the future. And of the nearly 20% that do require masks, only half said they are doing it voluntarily. The other half had mask rules because their government requires it.

Respondents had a chance to offer their own comments, and more than 50 took that opportunity. Responses written in all-caps have been kept. The HIPAA comments refer to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which requires safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information.

Here are the comments:

* I wear a mask anytime I am away from my desk. I am immune compromised and an active cancer patient.

* We had NO problems with COVID 19, but the Delta variant is making its way through the company.

* We follow the guidelines of the governor of [our state].

* Live free or die!

* We are watching cases. No specific plans at this time to require vaccination but strongly encouraging getting vaccinated.

* I think vaccination should be encouraged and masking required when you are working indoors, especially around vulnerable people.

* Freedom. We should be able to choose how to live and what enters our body. Government/employers should not take that freedom. God bless America!

* We did not offer a bonus to get a vaccination but we did organize groups to go to a testing facility during work hours and we paid them for that time.

* We follow the appropriate local regulations. We offer work from home to employees when it is applicable. Most office staff have their own office and we have no retail business so it is easier to maintain separation.

* Can someone tell me if we have to pay the unvaccinated if they get COVID?

* Our state allows for individuals to make their own call at this point. We follow their policy.

* It alarms me how we have let events and the CDC dictate how we live our lives.

* Masks will be highly recommended.


* Each person's decision is theirs and theirs alone. [By seeking out] the information and consulting with their doctor they can determine what is best for them. I respect their decision whatever it may be as long as they do the same for me. I will not violate the HIPAA act ever.

* Future decisions will be dictated by a resurgence or not of COVID-19 or variants.

* Is this really about a virus, or is it about control. I don't believe anything our Government or the CDC says. They're all liars!

* We don't require but strongly urge. Not sure we can require.

* We don't have a desire to be in the enforcement position.

* Ages 40 and under have been reluctant to have the vaccine.

* We are monitoring the percentage of positive cases in the counties we serve. We are considering going back to locking our office to walk-in customers, returning to curbside pickup and delivery only.

* We are encouraging employees to get the vaccine and are monitoring cases closely. As fluid as this situation is, many of our answers on this survey could change.

* As I do believe in "my body, my choice," I also believe in doing what is right for the greater good. Getting the vaccine is the right thing to do.


* Nobody cares about COVID anymore.

* [We] offered $100 cash bonuses to all vaccinated employees if another 10 got vaccinated over and above those that had already chosen to do so. We reached that threshold, but no more. A COVID outbreak last month resulted in seven breakthrough infections at [one lumber yard] and put three unvaccinated personnel in the hospital for a week each.

* We follow the state and federal laws however are not afraid to go above them if our employees do not feel safe.

* I respect the HIPAA laws. It’s not my right to ask.

* At this point in time, we are following state guidelines. [One state] has a mask mandate and [the other state where we operate] has a mask guideline.

* We operate 30 minutes outside of a metro area in a smaller town. Our population is more "old school," it seems. I can think of a handful of employees that are vaccinated, but it is not many. We post CDC signs at all entrances. We also provide FREE masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer at two stations within our facility. We have no plans to require vaccinations. I would say we are proponents of vaccination, but also are not in favor of telling people how to live their life on such a sensitive topic like healthcare.

* Wear a mask if you want to wear a mask. Keep your feelings about masks and vaccines as just that; to yourself. No reason to make this such a polarized topic and just agree that we are not going to agree. Be you and keep you safe as you see fit for you.

* As far as masks, we have signs at all the entrances on honor system: if no vaccine, we require mask.

* We are now requiring all employees to wear a mask indoors whether or not they have been vaccinated.

* We follow all state and local government guidelines.

* Our city is a college town. We follow the city’s lead.

* You must use your best judgment based on the available information, and try to follow your state's guidelines within reason.

* If you can cut a fart ... and it travels through your underwear and your blue jeans ... there's no way a mask is stopping COVID!!! Think about it.

* No science for masks Vaccines have same efficacy rate as flu shots. Not that good. [Vaccine effectiveness] started out at a whopping 95% and are now at 45%. Natural immunity is 6.7x more effective (Cleveland clinic study). Besides a guilt trip or asserting a moral and mental superiority, please provide a legitimate rationale for vaccine based on the stats I provided or other CURRENT and qualified stats. PLEASE KNOW that if employees or customers want to wear masks or receive a vaccination shot, they are encouraged to do so. That is their right and should not be judged in any way.

* Vaccinations are highly encouraged in our signage. We have a customer demographic -- and regional population -- that believes in science and helping community, so we have very little opposition.

* If you want to wear a mask, wear one. If you want to get a shot, get one. Or vice versa.

* While we do not mandate vaccines, we have spoke to the handful of "unvaccinites" and strongly encouraged them to do so. Putting a mandate would require collective bargaining with unions and I don't believe we'll need to take it that far.

* We are paying a $200 stipend to any employee who receives a full COVID vaccination, but I honestly don't feel it has made that much difference in who got vaccinated. Our company totals / percentages are in line with our state's totals.

* It’s still the USA not Communist China. What happened to the flu…..

* We are operating under the premise that our employees and customers are adults and should consult their doctors and family to make these decisions.

* We feel that requiring is entirely too strong a word in the Deep South.

* Personal choice is a strong tenet of America. Scary how fast it's changing. Vaccines are widely available to those wishing to be vaccinated. Why do we continually create laws in this country protecting people against themselves? Forced/mandated actions are not what the founders were thinking of in the land of the free.

* Who knows what the right answer to these questions are? It’s hard enough to take care of regular everyday business and then you throw in all these uncertainties. It makes for a very stressful situation.

The Webb Analytics survey drew 104 responses from an email solicitation to construction supply CEOs, 17 from the same type of email request to general managers and similar officers at dealers, and 20 answers from solicitations sent over social media. Just over 87% of the respondents work at a lumberyards or specialty dealers, 4% come from a two-step distributor or buying co-op, 4% from a building product manufacturer, and the rest from a builder, remodeler, or any other type of company.

Questions? Contact Craig Webb at

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