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Biden's new vaccine mandate stirs up emotions of frustration and optimism

Posted at 7:04 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 20:04:56-04

OSHKOSH, Wis. (NBC26) -- On Thursday President Biden announced his most ambitious move yet in fighting the COVID-19 virus. He announced an order for millions of employed Americans to get vaccinated or risk being fired.

"This is not about freedom or personal choice. It's about protecting yourself and those around you," President Biden said at the White House on Thursday.

The mandate would impact all businesses that employ more than 100 workers, forcing them to get vaccinated or test negative for the virus on a weekly basis to be employed. John Casper the President and CEO of the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce says it's just the newest challenge for some bigger businesses.

"They're just trying to get through this without disturbing their business operations and their livelihoods. So, this puts a new wrinkle into what government is maybe mandating certain companies to do."

Casper adds the President Biden's proposal could push some to leave the workforce locally, causing more stress on industries already struggling to fill roles.

"Harming businesses is a possibility. I mean we have a very tight labor market right now and if people are in a position where they will be mandated to get the vaccine or have to go to weekly testing that may cause some people to leave the labor force."

But opinions on the potential outcome of mandatory vaccinations vary. Larry Lautenschlager, a Winnebago County Board Supervisor says he doesn't understand why some would refuse the vaccination despite the risk of losing their job.

"I just can't see somebody saying I am going to lose that income for my family just because I don't want a shot."

Lautenschlager says he has a difficult time supporting mandates, especially if they are not enforced. Adding that he hopes something can help with the current trend of COVID-19's spread.

"If we just sit around and do nothing this virus and variants are just going to run rampant. There's nothing you can do."

But with the clock ticking and the federal government inching closer to the new requirement, there's both optimism and frustration over the potential of a new government mandate.

"If businesses follow through and there is some kind of enforcement to it, it would be great," says Lautenschlager.

"Government is becoming a manager of businesses and starting to really dictate a lot of things that they shouldn't be doing... I think people are pretty fed up with a lot of those things, I know I am," adds Casper.