Matthew Cohen, the new president and CEO of the Long...

Matthew Cohen, the new president and CEO of the Long Island Association business group, in Melville, Friday, July 2, 2021. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Long Island’s most prominent business group is calling on business owners and their employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19, saying the delta variant threatens the economic recovery.

In a public letter to business leaders, Matthew Cohen, president of the Long Island Association, said the economy is bouncing back from the pandemic. But "to continue this progress, I’m urging you to get vaccinated and asking you to encourage your employees to do the same," he said.

Cohen’s Aug. 23 letter coincided with the federal Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Full approvals of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots are expected soon. All have been distributed under Emergency Use Authorization.

The letter also comes as office-based businesses weigh when and how to have employees return to the office and face requests from some to continue working remotely along with hesitancy about getting inoculated.

"When you are making your decision, think about your town’s Main Street and the people who work there – they are our family members, friends, and neighbors," Cohen said. "It is an economic and moral imperative to come to their aid, but the delta variant and rising infection rates threaten all the progress we have made."

Long Island’s vaccination rate is higher than that of the state and nation. Nearly 66% of Nassau residents and 59% of Suffolk residents are fully vaccinated.

Locally, more than 9,400 people have died since the coronavirus struck in March 2020.

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