President Joe Biden‘s administration is moving forward with its plan for a health and safety mandate that will affect two-thirds of the American workforce.
On Thursday, Biden, 78, said that he and his administration are proceeding with a proposal to require all companies with over 100 employees to make sure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing. The president first announced plans for the proposal last month, and shared the latest updates during a press conference at a visit to Clayco Construction Site in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, near Chicago.
“The Labor Department is going to shortly issue an emergency rule – which I asked for several weeks ago, and they’re going through the process – to require all [employers] with more than 100 people, whether they work for the federal government or not – this is within the purview of the Labor Department – to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or face testing at least once a week,” Biden said.
“In total, this Labor Department vaccination requirement will cover 100 million Americans, about two thirds of all the people who work in America,” he continued. “And here’s the deal: These requirements are already proving that they work.”
Making the case for the vaccine and testing mandates, Biden stressed that vaccination requirements are “nothing new” in America and challenged companies to enforce such protocol, requiring employees to get vaccinated.
“With vaccinations we’re going to beat this pandemic finally,” he said. “Without them, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, damage to our economy and anxiety in our schools and empty restaurants and much less commerce.”
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Biden acknowledged that while he understands not all Americans agree with the idea of a COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirement, inoculations are the surest way the country can beat the ongoing pandemic.
“Look, I know the vaccination requirements are a tough medicine. Unpopular with some, politics for others. But they’re life-saving, they’re game-changing for our country,” he said.
During the press conference, Biden also directly addressed unvaccinated Americans, urging all to get the shot.
“For folks who haven’t gotten vaccinated, get it done. Do the right thing. It can save your life. It can save lives of those around you,” he said. “We can end this thing. It’s easy. It’s accessible, and it’s free to get the vaccine.”