How will the federal vaccine mandate impact Madison? It might be too early to tell.
MADISON, Wis. – While President Biden’s plan to require vaccines or regular testing to all American workforces with 100 employees or more will certainly have an impact nationally, it’s unclear the ramifications it could pose locally.
According to Zach Brandon of Madison’s Chamber of Commerce, more than 150,000 workers in Dane County fall into this category – roughly a quarter of the county’s population. Still, roughly 85 percent of people 18 and older have already gotten the shot, while several of the county’s largest employers have created their own mandates.
“The impact in Madison will be negligible. The impact in the rest of the country, in places where they have maybe half the vaccination rate we do, could be sizable,” Brandon said. “I just don’t think the President and the Department of Labor had Dane County in mind when they created this rule.”
Brandon says it’s unclear how long it will take for OSHA and other federal agencies to clarify the details of the plan.
“The devil is in the details,” he said. “Even we as an organization can’t say if we’re for this or against this until we actually see the rule.”
Still, Brandon says he anticipates some changes locally.
“It’s going to impact a lot of businesses,” he said. “There’s no doubt that every employer that has more than 100 employees is going to have to track this in some capacity. Not only track vaccinations, they’re also going to have to track those who opt out of the vaccinations and use weekly testing as the alternative.”
“WMC continues to review President Biden’s proposal and will evaluate OSHA’s emergency temporary standard when it is formally published,” said Wisconsin Manufacturer’s and Commerce President Kurt Bauer in a statement Friday. “In the meantime, we believe this order places undue and unfair burdens on businesses who have already gone to great lengths and expense to protect the health and safety of their employees. Employers should not be forced by government to police their employees’ vaccination status, which is what this expected rule would do.”
Brandon says this isn’t the first time the federal government has imposed regulations on businesses.
“Businesses spend an inordinate amount of time navigating the complexities of government regulation,” he said. “It would make you and your viewers shudder if you knew the amount of regulation businesses have to deal with. The reality of it is when you deal with local, state, federal regulation, every single moment of the day is governed by government regulation.”
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