Florida reacts to President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate
ORLANDO, Fla. - People across Florida are reacting after President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
Speaking at the White House, Biden criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.
"We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority "can cause a lot of damage, and they are."
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The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.
The President also announced the new requirements in a Thursday afternoon address from the White House as part of a new "action plan" to address the latest rise in coronavirus cases and the stagnating pace of COVID-19 shots that has raised doubts among the public over his handling of the pandemic.
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The reaction to this speech has been swift, with some showing support and others going against the new requirements.
"I think it’s probably a smart move given how the pandemic has been going," Scott Giamnatteo told FOX 35.
"The mandate policy is great. I’m definitely supporting it," Jan Guatam, the CEO of Interessant Hotel and Resort Management said. The company runs 75 hotels across the country, including a Sheraton in Orlando. They have 4,500 employees. "I think that mandating vaccination is every important. That’s the only way to go at this time."
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FOX 35 reached out to other business leaders in the Orlando area.
Some said that they are worried about forcing their employees to get vaccinated and that the testing requirement will be a burden on owners.
For instance, one person said, "I really feel like it’s going to cause people not to work. We already have a lapse in companies having people not apply to jobs or come back to work."
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"I think it's good… you should get the vaccine," another person said. "But when the government tells you have to get it — a bunch of people are going to be like ‘nah.’"
Companies that do not follow the new requirements from President Joe Biden could be look at $14,000 violation fines from OSHA.
Meanwhile, Florida politicians have chimed in as well.
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State Representative Anthony Sabatini said that a special session needs to be called to nullify the President’s vaccine mandates.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for Governor Nikki Fried thanked the president for the move.
Senator Rick Scott said that this is what you get for electing people who support socialism.
Representative Darren Soto said that the pandemic of the unvaccinated is putting kids at risk and hurting the economy.
Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.