While announcing a string of new executive orders designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, President Joe Biden told Americans, “This is not about freedom or personal choice.”
Late Thursday afternoon, Biden announced a new six-pronged plan to attack the coronavirus and raise vaccination numbers across the state. As shown on the White House website, the six prongs of the new plan include vaccinating the unvaccinated, further protecting the vaccinated, keeping schools safely open, increasing testing and requiring masking, protecting our economic recovery, and improving care for those with COVID-19.
The most drastic of the announcements was that any employee working for a business with over 100 employees must get vaccinated or produce weekly negative COVID-19 tests. This is paired with an order that requires all federal employees, and now government contractors, to also be vaccinated. Jen Psaki said that there “will be limited exceptions for legally recognized reasons such as disability or religious objections.”
The complete plan also includes vaccination mandates for teachers participating in any federal government teaching program like the Headstart Program as well as strong encouragement from the President for governors to require vaccines and masks in their schools.
The sweeping new measures come just weeks after Jen Psaki assured Americans that “a vaccine mandate is not the federal government’s role” and said that “our role is to not place blame” on the unvaccinated. She stated that instead of placing blame it is better to inform unvaccinated people about the risks of getting and spreading the virus.
The message has changed over the past few weeks, with President Biden not only instituting federal vaccination mandates but also saying to the unvaccinated, “we have been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”
Since the announcement of the new executive orders, many red-state governors have sworn to try and stop the orders from going into effect. They have assured constituents that they will do everything at their disposal including exploring legal avenues.
However, most legal experts agree that while this may be a drastic move, it is technically legal for the president to implement these executive orders (LA Times). Many do not think employers who don’t want to enforce the mandates will have a legal leg to stand on.
ARTICLE: ABBY RANCOUR
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BUSINESS INSIDER
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