SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – An estimated 66 million Americans have not received a coronavirus vaccine.
Thursday, President Joe Biden said vaccine mandates are working, and the biggest one is yet to come.
“We are in a very critical period as we work to turn the corner on COVID-19,” says President Biden. “The Labor Department is soon going to be issuing an emergency rule to companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements.”
The Utah Department of Workforce Services tells ABC4 the requirements will affect 2,342 companies and hundreds of thousands of Utahns.
Those businesses found not in compliance may face a $14,000 fine per violation from the Department of Labor and OSHA.
“Let’s be clear, vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us,” says the President.
In a statement, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams tells ABC4:
“We are united with Gov. Cox, Lt. Gov. Henderson and Speaker Wilson against President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Though I support vaccines and the vaccination effort, forcing American businesses to mandate vaccines for their employees is not the role of the government. We support Attorney General Sean Reyes as he works with other states to pursue legal action against the federal government.
On Oct. 4, the Legislature held a special public hearing to gather feedback from Utahns regarding the mandate. We had over 800 Utahns participate, the largest legislative hearing in our state’s history, with the overwhelming majority opposed to the mandate. Though currently there is no official order from the federal government, we are prepared to respond if the mandate is announced.”
“This isn’t legislators coming together and saying you know this if for a good cause or anything else. This is a mandate from one individual coming down improperly. It’s unconstitutional,” says Salt Lake County GOP Chair Chris Null. “It does affect people who are not government employees, of course, government employees are more affected at this point right now.”
Null says he got every vaccine until the coronavirus vaccines.
“I personally am not sure I’m going to get it, and I won’t get into, I have some medical issues in the family and I just feel that maybe it’s not right for me. I’m still trying to find out,” he says. “I fully respect anybody who says they are going to go get it, and they went and got it, awesome. I’m not there yet.”
When asked where Utahns should get vaccine information Null says, “I think you should get it from the CDC. I think all of the information I’ve researched is from the CDC. I think the CDC is probably doing the best they can, but it’s a short amount of time, everyone’s got to make their own choice right? And to know how to feel, to know whether they are going to feel comfortable or not with it, and so you know, absolutely go to the CDC, and their doctor.”
Null believes ultimately the vaccine mandate hurts Utah companies adding, “Businesses are struggling to hire employees, and we are on the verge of putting them in a position where they can’t hire not vaccinated employees. It’s really detrimental to our economy.”
Utah Legislators are preparing for a possible special session in October or November for a response to any future vaccine mandate announced by the 46th president.
The target date to get vaccine requirements implemented is the week of November 20th. That’s 75 days after the official announcement ABC4 News told you about on September 9th.