President Biden on Thursday unveiled a series of steps to combat the newly surging pandemic, including the announcement of a forthcoming federal rule that all businesses with 100 or more employees have to ensure that every worker is either vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing for the coronavirus.
“We’re in a tough stretch, and it could last for a while,” Biden conceded, as the delta variant of the coronavirus has caused cases, hospitalizations and deaths to rise across the country. But, he added: “We can and we will turn the tide on COVID-19.”
Speaking from the White House, Biden said the new emergency rule for private sector employers, which will be issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, would apply to 80 million workers.
In total, he said the six-pronged strategy he unveiled Thursday would affect some 100 million Americans.
Biden also announced that businesses meeting the 100-worker threshold must give employees paid time off to get themselves or family members vaccinated.
Republicans decry the employer mandate
Many Republicans quickly condemned Biden’s proposed rule as federal overreach.