Long Island businesses face impacts from president's vaccine mandates
A big change could be coming for large Long Island companies and others across the U.S. with President Joe Biden rolling out one of his strongest stands on vaccines.
The president announced Thursday that he's ordering the Labor Department and OSHA to develop a rule to require employers with more than 100 workers to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated.
However, workers can opt for weekly testing if they choose not to get vaccinated.
RXR Reality CEO Scott Rechler says his company on Long Island has a vaccine mandate. He believes now that the Pfizer vaccine has FDA approval, the move by the federal government will give companies more backing to get their employees vaccinated.
"I think it was an important decision," says Rechler. "If we could have the federal guidelines that are universal it makes this conversation much easier and it's then gonna bring us to a path where we can have an economic recovery and a safer environment and healthier environment much more quickly."
Louis Luciani, of Franklin Square, disagrees saying, "It shouldn't really be imposed, it should be a choice among the people."
The new directive from the president is already creating controversy along political lines. The Republican National Committee has already said it would sue.
Biden says the vaccine mandate is necessary to help the country get out of the pandemic and re-energize the economy.
"This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated and it's caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot," said Biden.
The Labor Department and OSHA are currently crafting the rule. White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients says enforcement actions could include fines up to $13,600 per violation.