Speaking from the White House Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden announced new Wuhan coronavirus vaccine, testing and mask mandates for all federal government employees. He wore a mask to the lectern before making the announcement.
Happening Now: President Biden delivers remarks on the next steps in our effort to get more Americans vaccinated and combat the spread of the Delta variant. https://t.co/DaPvWPmEmU— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 29, 2021
"Every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel," the White House released in a fact sheet shortly before the announcement. "The federal government employs more than 4 million Americans, including over 2 million in the federal civilian workforce, throughout our country and across the world. These rules should not only apply to federal workers and onsite contractors. President Biden is directing his team to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. The Administration will encourage employers across the private sector to follow this strong model."
Biden is also instructing the Department of Defense to mandate the vaccine for the U.S. military.
"Today, the President will announce that he is directing the Department of Defense to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military," the White House released.
In an attempt to sweeten the situation, Biden is asking local governments to use previously allocated relief dollars to reward individuals who get vaccinated with $100.
"The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided states, territories, and localities resources that can be used to offer incentives to increase vaccination rates, and today, the President will call on every state, territory, and local government to use this ARP funding to provide $100 to anyone who gets vaccinated," this White House said.
Meanwhile, a number of unions are opposing vaccine mandates.
"Various media outlets have reported that the White House is considering mandatory COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment for federal employees. Maintaining the health and safety of our members is of paramount importance. While the APWU leadership continues to encourage postal workers to voluntarily get vaccinated, it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent," the American Postal Workers Union, which represents 220,000 employees, released in a statement Wednesday evening. "Issues related to vaccinations and testing for COVID-19 in the workplace must be negotiated with the APWU. At this time the APWU opposes the mandating of COVID-19 vaccinations in relation to U.S. postal workers."