Local Businesses React To President’s New Pandemic Rules

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ERIE (Erie News Now) – Since vaccines became available, Jim Berlin has been pushing his employees and colleagues at Logistics Plus to get the shot.

“We actually gave a bonus out to everyone who got it and who will get it. We figure it’s money well spent to get everyone healthy,” he told Erie News Now.

At his business, this monetary incentive has mostly worked. Now as President Biden’s new set of pandemic rules comes down, he thinks it’s a move long overdue.

“I think it’s good to see it getting addressed more forcefully,” he said.

But for Manufacturers & Business Association, it’s a different story. They say this order will have several unintended consequences.

“Some of the concern on this is what it will do to those businesses who are struggling to get employees,” said Jezree Friend, the Senior Director of Public Affairs for the organization.

Friend says the new rules will only drive away potential employees, instead of bringing people back to the workforce. On top of that, there are still questions of how these rules will be enforced. “How is that enforceable? Is there a police state, or who’s the government authority enforcing this? Is there going to be random spot checks from the county government. That’s now taking away from county government functions,” he said.

Overall, he believes the government should let businesses handle this matter themselves. “Leaving it up to the employer to decide if there should be a mandate or not seems to be the most logical route,” he said.

If employees don’t want to get vaccinated, they can choose to be tested for COVID-19 once per week.

Berlin says if the tests are not free, unvaccinated employees will foot the bill. “I would have the employees pay for their tests. If you don’t want to get a free shot, and you want to go through tests every week, that’s on them. Not on the government and not on the company,” he told Erie News Now.

Berlin says his team sent out an email Thursday afternoon, informing employees they will have a vaccination clinic on-site, so they have plenty of opportunity to get the shot.

As for MBA, they’re waiting to learn more information on this order, so they can assist their members.


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