Millions of federal employees will be expected to provide proof of coronavirus vaccination or face obligatory masking, weekly testing, distancing, and other new regulations.
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that all civilian government employees would be required to submit their COVID-19 vaccination status or face stringent testing, social distance and masking procedures, and travel restrictions. The new strict guidelines are intended to increase vaccination rates among many Americans who get government salaries while also setting an example for private businesses across the country.
New COVID-19 guidelines urge states and local government to fund $100 incentives
Biden is also asking state and local governments to use funding from the COVID-19 relief package to entice people to obtain vaccines by providing $100 to those who do. He's also saying that small and medium-sized businesses would be reimbursed if they provide time off for employees to have family members vaccinated.
The new regulation comes as COVID-19 cases have begun to rise again in all 50 states, owing to the more infectious Delta variant, while vaccination rates have stabilized. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 69.3 percent of people in the United States have gotten at least one vaccination dose.
For months, business leaders have been debating whether or not companies should force employees to obtain the vaccination to prevent the virus from spreading. Many firms have left it up to people to decide. Still, public health and employment experts believe the new Biden administration policy may lead to more private-sector employers enacting their vaccination policies.
The Biden announcement is "significant," said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy. The federal judgment sets a broad precedent that companies may use to justify implementing a similar policy for their employees right now, as per CNBC via MSN.
Businesses will also have a point of reference for dealing with employee opposition and threats of legal action if the rule is not followed. Leaders may gain insight into how federal policy is implemented and enforced. According to Lee, working through operational issues will take time; and small firms may find it particularly challenging.
Federal workers to face strict vaccination policies
Per WFMZ, Biden is also asking the Defense Department to investigate adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of mandatory vaccines for service personnel. He also instructed his staff to make efforts to ensure that all government contractors are subject to the same rules.
The president's decision to work for the federal government, which is by far the country's largest employer, comes amid rising coronavirus rates, which are being fueled by pockets of vaccination resistance and the more infectious Delta variant. Several large businesses and municipal governments have issued additional rules independently, but the administration believes that much more is required.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guideline for places where viral infection rates have resurfaced earlier this week, stating that those vaccinated should still wear masks indoors. The shift represented a reversal of the CDC's prior advice, which said that people who had been vaccinated did not need to cover their faces.
Several states, cities, and private companies have sponsored incentives for individuals who receive vaccines in recent months to encourage vaccinations. People vaccinated in West Virginia may enter a $1 million lottery, and bars throughout the country have hosted "shots for shots" giveaways.
However, because vaccination rates have stalled and COVID-19 cases are on the rise, Biden wants to boost up his efforts. He will urge states, territories, and local governments to do much more to encourage immunization, including providing $100 to everybody who gets vaccinated, Newsweek reported.