Central Florida businesses take stand on Biden vaccine mandate

The Biden Administration wants more people to get vaccinated, and that’s why they’re directing companies to require their employees to get the shot. 

In Orlando, some business owners are all about it while others publicly going against the federal mandate. 

"God told me – for myself – not to take," said Joe Penovich, owner of Grills Restaurants, about the vaccine. 

Penovich posted a letter to Facebook Friday saying since he’s not getting the shot, he won’t ask his employees to do it either. 

"As I shared it with our staff and I got a lot of people’s sense of relief, I just really felt it was important to put that position out there," Penovich explained. 

With restaurants and other businesses in Orange and Brevard counties, he has just over 400 employees. Penovich says he’ll try to comply with all the testing requirements. 

Last week, President Joe Biden announced businesses with more than 100 workers have to mandate the vaccine or provide weekly testing for the unvaccinated. 

"There’s a certain percentage of people that just do not want to take this and nothing is going to change those minds. The idea that they would lose their jobs because of that is really crazy," Penovich said. 

On the other side of town, Orlando Shakes says 100 percent of its staff is vaccinated. 

"We were at like 99 percent vaccinated at the very beginning of summer. This was a formality," said Douglas Love-Ramos, Managing Dir. Of Orlando Shakes. 

He says the theater company mandated the vaccine back in July and is still doing weekly testing as an added precaution. On top of that, starting Oct. 1, all guests will need to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID test to get into shows. 

"We’re trying to protect each other as much as we possibly can and were trying to protect our audiences and patrons as much as we can," Love-Ramos said. 

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