Louisiana business leaders fear negative economic impacts of federal vaccine mandate

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 8, 2021 at 7:12 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “On behalf of the people of Louisiana I have now filed suit against Joe Biden’s misguided vaccine mandate,” said attorney general Jeff Landry.

Louisiana’s attorney general Jeff Landry says his office is leading this case, opposing the federal vaccine mandate set to take effect on January 4.

It would require all companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated, or employees would need to pay for weekly testing. Landry says he’s keeping the constitution and the people of Louisiana in mind.

“The government should not get in between you and your doctor so today with this lawsuit I’m taking on get another government overreach one that willfully ignores the constitution,” said Landry.

It’s not the vaccine the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry has issues with.

“We encourage everyone to consult a doctor and if they can’t be vaccinated,” said President and CEO, Stephen Waguespack.

It’s the negative impact to businesses that Waguespack says is the most concerning.

“They’ve been battling through the pandemic and trying to keep the doors open dealing with supply chain issues and inflationary pressures. Now they’re going to have a federal agency that has no experience regulating on this type of issue coming in and putting hard and fast deadlines with really big fines and penalties on top of them,” said Waguespack.

The mandate puts OSHA as the enforcement arm, potentially lodging thousands of dollars in fines against companies out of compliance.

Waguespack says not only is there much confusion amongst companies and employers, he fears the federal government’s attempt to protect small businesses with the mandate may have the opposite effect.

“I’m worried about the small businesses that may be just over that 100-employee threshold but do not have the means or the capability to survive this type of mandate. A lot of that comes in the hospitality and tourism space, a lot of that comes in the frontline healthcare workers space. These are already damaged and hurt companies who are now facing a fine and penalty on top of them is absolutely the worst type of idea at the worst time you could do it,” said Waguespack.

It’s estimated this mandate will impact 84 million workers nationwide.

Tougher rules will apply to people working in nursing homes and hospitals as they will not have an option for testing and will need to be vaccinated.

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