Forget federal or state governments, it’s businesses who are taking charge of COVID responses. Companies are doing what the government can’t do. They’re requiring employees to complete their vaccinations. They’re mandating wearing masks inside the offices.
Corporate America Taking Matters Into Own Hands
Unwilling to wait for the results of infighting between parties on how to implement their COVID responses, corporate America is taking matters into its own hands.
Big businesses such as Disney, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Walmart are taking the lead. They already required their employees to show proof of vaccination before reporting back to work.
Many reinstated mask mandates in the office. These rules often clash with directives issued by state politicians who argue that individual rights trump any mandates.
For example, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby and President Bret Hart told employees of their upcoming vaccine mandate. “We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees.
But, the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated,” Kirby said. United became the first carrier to require vaccines for its crew. Three other major airlines – Southwest, Delta, and American – said they will not do so at this time. Even so, Delta said that 75% of its employees already received their vaccinations.
White House Met With Companies
Earlier, President Joe Biden held virtual meetings with major business executives to persuade them from enacting their own COVID responses. Biden also scheduled conferences with key officials of the health care, transportation, and academic sectors.
According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Biden wanted a wider range of industries involved. “There were “intentionally a diverse group of industries. Today is an example of us lifting up the private sector, taking steps that make sense,” she added.
More than half of the US population already received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines. This is despite the fact that vaccines are only approved for Americans over 12 years of age. In addition, there are many groups scattered across the country who continue to resist vaccines as well as mask-wearing.
‘Time For Us To Resist’
Meanwhile, hardline Republicans such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senators Rand Paul (KY), and Ted Cruz (TX) continue to resist mandatory masking and vaccines.
In a video uploaded Monday, Paul exhorted Americans to ignore COVID responses such as masks and vaccines. “It's time for us to resist. They can't arrest all of us,” he said. Paul also added that “They can't keep all of your kids home from school. They can't keep every government building closed, although I've got a long list of ones they might keep closed or ought to keep closed,” he said. Consequently,
YouTube suspended Paul from its site for seven days. The online video site said that Paul’s video contained false information about the effectiveness of masks.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is proving himself as the champion of the anti-COVID response group. The governor’s office said earlier this week that the State Board of Education can withhold the salaries of superintendents and school board members who insist on mask mandates in school.
He is heading off any attempts of school officials to disregard his earlier executive order prohibiting mask mandates in school districts.
Florida, Texas Going All In
Apart from that, DeSantis also issued an executive order virtually turning over COVID responses to parents of schoolchildren. His order resulted in numerous lawsuits challenging the constitutionality.
The Florida governor also crossed swords with the cruise line industry. Earlier, Norwegian Cruise Lines filed suit challenging the state’s ban on COVID passports for passengers.
Many political analysts see DeSantis’ moves as warming up to the Republican base. According to Erik Nisbet, professor of Policy Analysis for Northwestern University, “DeSantis is basically trying to be (Donald) Trump's heir. He's making a political calculus that costs lives.”
Similar events are occurring in Texas, where a judge ruled against Governor Greg Abbott’s order banning COVID responses such as mask mandates. A full hearing is set for this Monday.
Businesses Ignoring State Orders
Despite the orders in states such as Florida and Texas, businesses choose to impose their own COVID responses. Disney, Florida’s largest private employer, required all salaried and non-union employees to complete their vaccinations within 60 days.
Watch the Good Morning America video report on Back to work: Can employers legally mandate vaccinations?
Do you agree with businesses issuing their own COVID responses? Or, do you think they should comply with state directives if they want to conduct business there? Will you follow corporate COVID mandates if it conflicts with state orders?
Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts below.