September 10, 2021
Business leaders said Friday they plan to review President Biden’s announced COVID-19 vaccination requirements before enacting any mandates.
On Thursday, President Biden unveiled a sweeping six-part plan to fight COVID outbreaks that ordered all federal employees and employees of government contractors must be vaccinated.
Companies with more than 100 workers will have to require all employees to be vaccinated or provide negate test results weekly.
BMW Manufacturing, with a workforce of 11,000 at its Spartanburg plant, is still reviewing the proposed rules, according to a statement released by spokesman Steve Wilson.
“No decision has been made at this time. We continue to follow CDC guidelines and strongly emphasize to all associates and contractors that they should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The plant offers the COVID vaccine on-site to associates and contractors. We continue to practice the common-sense precautions that we have followed throughout the pandemic.”
Draxlmaier Group of Duncan employs more than 1,000 workers at its Duncan location, and has been offering on-site testing and vaccination since earlier this year.
Spokesman Ralph Schwarz said the company is still working on how to implement rules once the mandate becomes effective.
Michelin North America, which also has more than 1,000 employees in the Upstate, is also reviewing the executive orders.
“The health and safety of our employees has been our number one priority since the beginning of the pandemic,” the tire maker said in a statement. “We are committed to understanding their implications for our company and doing what is best for our employees, our communities and our businesses.”
Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt, co-chairman of the Bringing Back the Burg Task Force, said he listened to Biden’s press conference and has more questions than answers.
Britt said last year the task force set a goal of 75% of Spartanburg County residents being vaccinated. As of recently, Spartanburg County has reported less than 50& of those eligible have been fully vaccinated.
“I have supported the vaccines for myself and everyone that can get them to keep us from going backward,” Britt said. “I am not a constitutional scholar, but I do not see where the president can unilaterally dictate this mandate and I expect there will be many legal challenges, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Frank Knapp, president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said the number of businesses with more than 100 employees statewide is relatively small.
“The president’s mandate will have no impact on real small businesses unless they have a federal government contract,” Knapp said, adding that his organization has taken no position on Biden’s mandate.
“However, we do encourage small business owners to consider requiring their employees to either be vaccinated, get weekly COVID-19 tests or be isolated from other workers,” he said.