Do SC companies like Biden’s vaccine mandate plan? Here’s what a new survey says

·2 min read

A new survey from the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce shows that about 60% of businesses don’t support the Biden administration’s proposal to vaccinate companies with 100 or more employees or test them weekly for COVID-19.

The survey, released Friday, included 440 businesses from across the state. Half of those surveyed already require or plan to require their employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus in the future.

“We encourage policymakers at all levels to allow employers the right to determine the best approach for their business,” Chamber President and CEO Bob Morgan said in a statement. “The S.C. Chamber of Commerce also encourages all who are eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible as the best way to protect the public health and our economy.”

Morgan said Thursday at a state Board of Economic Advisors meeting that the business community’s opposition to President Joe Biden’s vaccination plan isn’t philosophical.

“It’s really a much more pragmatic response. Those who are opposed to the mandate are frankly worried about the impact it would have on their workforce,” Morgan said, adding that companies already short on labor worry about future losses.

In an effort to curb the COVID-19 spread, earlier this month Biden announced a plan requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration create a rule that businesses with more than 100 employees must require their workers get vaccinated or get tested weekly. OSHA has yet to issue that rule.

Biden’s announcement sparked immediate backlash.

One day after the plan was announced, Gov. Henry McMaster vowed to fight the mandate “to the gates of hell.”

There are also several legal questions surrounding the potential vaccine mandate.

In a letter, 24 state attorneys general, including South Carolina Republican Alan Wilson, warned the Biden administration they would sue if the plan were to take effect.

In the letter, the attorneys general said the plan represents a “threat to individual liberty,” and could result in a public health disaster if it drives health care workers to quit because they don’t want to comply with the mandate.

They also argued that the law Biden is using has seen little use since it was passed and has faced several court challenges.

The law has only been used 10 times since it passed, the letter said, and only once was the rule issued by OSHA upheld by courts. One instance of the use is still being challenged in court.

Reporter Joe Bustos contributed to this story.

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