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Michigan business leaders urge Biden administration to put vaccine mandate on hold

Tim Mossholder

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce wants President Joe Biden to rethink a proposed COVID vaccination mandate.

The regulation could be finalized in the coming weeks.

The mandate would apply to businesses with 100 or more employees. It's part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to increase the number of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

But Michigan chamber leaders say the burden to prove vaccination status or regular testing shouldn’t fall on businesses.

Kara Beer is with the Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce. She says they support more people getting vaccinated as a step toward economic recovery.

"Vaccines are a great way of doing that,” said Beer. “But we don’t feel as though a federal mandate is appropriate.”

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce hosted a zoom conference Monday to voice concerns the proposed mandate may have unintended consequences.

Beyond the federal mandate, they are concerned Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration may act to make the vaccine regulation more onerous on small businesses.

“We want to create safe workplaces,” said Andy Johnston, with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. “But we really believe each employer should have the flexibility to make judgments about safety, how we attract workers, how we operate our businesses. Public policy makers should leave those decisions where they belong with private business owners.”

Michigan Chamber President Rich Studley says they want to work with the Biden Administration in developing regulations.

But he conceded if the administration moves forward with the mandate, the issue will probably end up in court.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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