To gauge the public sentiment on the possible government mandate regarding businesses with 100 or more employees ordering their workers to get vaccinated or produce a negative COVID-19 test once a week, the Business and Labor Interim Committee in Utah held a legislative committee hearing. Around 700 people went to the hearing physically, and 250 more attended online.
Turnout Was Unprecedented
The Enterprise reported that the turnout of the legislative committee hearing was unprecedented. However, it is a clear indication that many businesses oppose the vaccine mandate by the federal government regarding business with 100 or more employees. Such requirements will come in the form of a temporary emergency standard (ETS), which could last for up to 180 days. United States President Joe Biden said that if businesses do not follow the possible mandate, they could face fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
During the legislative committee hearing, The Enterprise reported that committee co-chair, Senator Curt Bramble, Republican-Provo, Utah, made it clear to the attendants that the meeting is not about any legislation as there are already many issues COVID-19. The Enterprise quoted Bramble, saying, “This meeting is specific: We need to have input from citizens relative to the federal government issuing a mandate to every citizen in the United States relative to COVID vaccines or mandatory testing from the federal government.”
Bramble continued to say that the hearing is about the federal government imposing a mandate on the citizens, including financial sanctions. He noted that they are premature in hearing about it because they do not have the final order from Biden yet, but he said it is vital to get the citizen’s input based on the announcement.
Some Utah Business Owners Support Mandate
The announcement of Biden regarding the businesses that have 100 or more employees will affect around 80 million workers. In Utah, less than three percent of the companies have 100 or more employees, and some of them support the mandate. The Enterprise reported that some speakers said that the vaccinations mandates have been around for decades and that vaccinations are effective and are good public health policy during the hearing. Ben Hart, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, said that some businesses would like to require all employees to get vaccinated. Hart noted that the companies that supported such are essential in Utah as they have an international presence.
Others, however, opposed the mandate saying they were okay with the mandate but not with the federal government imposing it. Such business owners added that they should have the right to make their own decisions in the best interests of their employees and customers without government overreach. Some also said that they support voluntary vaccination.