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Texas congressman says upcoming OSHA Covid-19 vaccine rule will lead to layoffs

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:52 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - If you’re not vaccinated against Covid-19, then your employer may soon face some tough choices. That is because employers are bracing for a federal rule from the Biden Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, which will require businesses with 100 or more employees to test unvaccinated workers weekly.

Congressman Roger Williams, R-TX, said, “A lot of people are going to be laid off.”

Williams says the anticipated federal push to get more people vaccinated against Covid-19 is scaring business owners.

Williams, a business owner himself, said he’s trying to figure out exactly how much it will cost them to comply with the expected rule.

He said, “If you’ve got 104 people you’re probably going to find already, I know businesses are trying to see if they can let go of five people to get under the threshold.”

Williams says the Biden administration is overstepping and that people should be allowed to choose whether they get vaccinated.

“The government can suggest, and I do suggest as an employer, I have hundreds of employees, and I am suggesting that they get vaccinated,” Williams said. “I’m suggesting they do but I can’t demand it, that’s not my role to tell people that they have to do something.”

Exact details of the rule have not yet been released, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked what she would say to business owners who are worried about cost and losing employees over the rule.

Psaki said, “OSHA is going through the process of determining the regulations here to give businesses and employers all these clear guidelines which are all good questions that are being asked, and hopefully we’ll have more on that in the coming weeks.”

Georgetown University Public health and legal expert Lawrence Gostin says at the U.S. needs to raise its Covid-19 vaccination rate by at least 10 percent to get control of the pandemic.

Gostin said, Vaccines are our ticket out of this pandemic, we need to use those tools, Biden wins right to do it and it’s entirely lawful.”

Gostin says he expects the vaccine rule will make workplaces safer, and will have a significant impact on raising the national vaccination rate.

He said, “Nobody should be forced to do anything for their own health and wellbeing, but vaccinations aren’t only about the person’s health and wellbeing. An unvaccinated person is far more likely to transmit Sars-Cov-2, including to a vulnerable person.”

It’s still unknown exactly when OSHA will put the rule in place, and it’s also expected to face legal challenges which may delay it going into effect immediately.

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