Biden promotes vaccine mandate in Illinois as business groups push back

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(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden visited Elk Grove Village on Thursday to promote his COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which many businesses oppose.

It marked the president’s second visit to the state after previously speaking at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake in July, when he promoted his Build Back Better agenda.

Biden arrived at a Clayco construction site in Elk Grove Village to discuss the mandate that requires private businesses with more than 100 employees, health care workers, and federal contractors to get the vaccine.

Governor J.B. Pritzker praised the president’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic “on behalf of the small business owners and workers, deserving of an economy built back better and on behalf of educators eager for a normal in-person learning experience for their students,” Pritzker said.

Biden cited host Clayco as an example of how business should be conducted during the pandemic.

“You stayed in operations mode and lining up protective equipment for people across the country,” Biden said. “and when the vaccine came out, you all stepped up and got the shots.”

The mandate requires over 100 million Americans to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.

“We are starting to see fewer COVID-19 cases in a vast majority of communities across the country,” Biden said. “Cases are down this month by 40%.”

Many businesses oppose the vaccine mandate, including Illinois State Council for the Society for Human Resource Management (ILSHRM) Director Laura Miller. ILSHRM promotes professionalism in human resources.

Miller said there remains too many unanswered questions from businesses about the mandate.

“We do not know all the answers still, and that’s what business owners are worried about,” Miller said. “Who is going to own this and what is going to be the cost?”

Miller also raised issues with the amount of time this could cost workers that would have to test weekly and what that would mean for employers.

“It is going to be very tough for employees and employers for them to figure out, not only the physical dollars but also the time constraint of some of this too,” Miller said.

In the coming months, over 100 million Americans will be subject to the president’s vaccination requirement.

“For those of you that are unvaccinated and that are listening to this broadcast, please get vaccinated,” Biden said to close his speech. “Please.”

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