COVID Vaccine Mandates: What’s Next for States and Private Companies

by Chris Haney
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Last week, the Supreme Court ruled against the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees. With no federally-mandated vaccine in place, states now have the right to implement the orders or not, according to their own local preferences. Here’s what’s next for states across the nation and the private companies within them.

Supreme Court Blocks Vaccine Mandate, President Biden Urges States to ‘Do The Right Thing’

The Supreme Court recently blocked enforcement of the vaccine-or-test orders. President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate was only days away from impacting more than 80 million American workers. However, the justices voted 6 to 3 against implementing the federal order.

The high court’s decision on Thursday “disappointed” President Biden. He called the vaccine mandate “common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses.” Following the court’s decision, the president implored state leaders and large business owners to “do the right thing” by enforcing vaccine requirements on their own. Over the coming months, each state will now decide whether or not to enforce mandates on some level.

States That Have Pre-Existing Mandates In Place Already

Numerous states already have some form of a vaccine mandate in place. According to the Supreme Court’s recent decision, each state can now require workers, students, customers, and spectators to be vaccinated.

So far, at the state level, vaccine mandates for state employees are commonplace. Numerous states have already implemented the orders, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, and New Jersey. New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin also have similar rules in place. In fact, the vaccine mandates also apply to many teachers in the states.

Last month, in New York City, officials enforced the first vaccine mandate on private-sector employees. The nation’s most populated city issued orders that even go beyond the Biden administration’s attempted requirements. But past NYC, private company mandates are scarce. In addition, states that looked as if they’d adopt the vaccine mandate have paused plans to move forward with the requirements because of the Supreme Court ruling.

States Firmly Opposed To the Vaccine Mandates

In contrast, 11 states have passed regulations that prevent vaccine mandates on private businesses. The rules range from blocking the requirements altogether to implementing specific restrictions on certain programs. The states firmly against the mandates include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Until each state weighs in on the issue, private businesses and their employees across the United States are still in uncertain territory. Workers at large companies may still be impacted by a vaccine mandate, according to their state’s position on the matter.

Private Companies Requiring Employees to Get Vaccinated

As each state now decides what is best for its citizens, some corporations have already adopted a vaccine mandate. This past summer, United Airlines, and Tyson Foods became two of the first major businesses to enforce the requirements.

In recent months, other airlines have followed suit, and so have other large companies like McDonald’s and Walgreens. Numerous other corporate businesses announced plans to require vaccinations in accordance with the Biden administration’s policy. Yet it is unclear how many corporations will proceed now that the Supreme Court blocked the requirements at a federal level.

For example, General Electric suspended its plans to require their 174,000 employees to take the vaccination. On the other hand, earlier this month, Citigroup announced that they would fire employees who don’t receive their Covid-19 shots. The company has not backed down from that stance since the Supreme Court’s decision.

Outsider.com