KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Chamber of Commerce released a statement Thursday opposing the new federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate rules for large employers.
The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new rules Thursday that Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 4 or get tested weekly.
Companies could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation if they fail to comply.
The Missouri Chamber said in a news release that it always has taken a stance against government mandates on employers.
“The Missouri Chamber opposes this onerous new federal mandate. Each workplace is different and employers have long held the right to establish vaccine policies that work for their businesses. The Missouri Chamber believes all employers should continue to have this right when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine,” Daniel P. Mehan, president/CEO of the Missouri Chamber, said in the release. “In contrast with the Biden Administration’s approach, we believe the federal government should instead cooperate with the employer community to encourage vaccination and support employers that exercise their legal right to require vaccination. It’s unfortunate that this new federal policy will likely further divide public sentiment around COVID-19 vaccination.”
Although it opposes the new mandate, the chamber said that getting vaccinated "remains key to economic recovery."
“We need more Missourians to get vaccinated so that we can put this pandemic behind us for good,” Mehan said in the release. “The Missouri Chamber will continue leading in this effort and we continue to strongly encourage all Missourians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
The Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt also said Thursday morning that he will sue to halt the new requirements.