Central Florida residents react to nationwide vaccine mandates for employers, federal workers

100 million Americans fall under President Joe Biden’s mandate

ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida residents are reacting to a new federal policy that would require tens of millions of American workers to be vaccinated.

President Joe Biden announced sweeping new orders Thursday that will require employers with more than 100 workers to mandate immunizations or offer weekly testing.

Large swaths of the private sector have already stepped in to mandate shots for at least some of their employees. But Biden said Thursday that “many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are not fully vaccinated.”

The order wasn’t sitting well with some outside Camping World Stadium, which is a vaccine and monoclonal antibody treatment site.

Andy Olpin said he has already been fully vaccinated and said everyone should be free to make their own choice to get the shot.

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“I don’t think that telling people a one size fits all medical solution will solve any of our problems,” he said.  “I’m vaccinated and I caught COVID anyway, so I don’t think the vaccines are going to save us.”

John Foutz is a small business owner and said he was uncomfortable with the idea of workers being forced into making a difficult decision.

“I guess that if you get tested weekly, I guess that’s part of the mandate and that is reasonable,” Foutz said.  “My personal policy is that your medical choices should be your own.”

The U.S. is still struggling to curb the surging delta variant of the coronavirus, which is killing thousands each week and jeopardizing the nation’s economic recovery.

Per Biden’s order, the millions who work as employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government won’t have the option to get tested instead of taking the vaccine. The order also requires large companies to provide paid time off for vaccination.

More than 177 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but confirmed cases of the virus have shot up in recent weeks. They’ve now reached an average of about 140,000 cases per day. On average, about 1,000 Americans dying from the virus daily.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.