Business groups react to Biden’s COVID vaccination mandate

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – President Biden said Thursday that vaccination requirements are good for the economy, but the state chamber president totally disagrees.

Ohio has 318,000 registered businesses, and the vast majority have fewer than 100 workers. Ohio Chamber President Steve Stivers believes the others will be impacted by Biden’s vaccine mandate.

“I just think it’s going to be a nightmare to administer, and I think it’s going to wreak havoc on the employment market,” he said.

Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber President Guy Coviello worries about what alternatives businesses will have if a company doesn’t achieve 100% vaccination.

“I literally question whether or not the rule can actually be enforced,” Coviello said.

Stivers admits the Ohio Chamber has businesses that believe in the vaccine mandate and he’s fine with that, but the group believes cutting the line at 100-person businesses could have a big impact on the labor market.

“You’re going to see people wanting to work for businesses under 100 because they won’t be subject to be required to be vaccinated, show their vaccination status, or get tested or wear a mask,” Stivers said.

A company with 20 unvaccinated employees getting tested each week is over 1,000 tests a year. There are $13,000 fines for each incident, but Stivers doesn’t believe the 490-page report gives a definition for them.

“Businesses should do what works for them and what they think they need to do to keep their workplace safe.”

Stivers says Ohio businesses have built distance or work from home into their model already, and that it’s done great protecting employees and customers. He’s still willing to work with OSHA and the Department of Labor on these rules.

“But if they’re unwilling to make changes, we’re going to have some real concerns and we may be willing to join a lawsuit,” he said.

This is an emergency temporary standard and only has temporary authority, but no one knows how long OSHA and the Department of Labor will keep it around.

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