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Big businesses in Connecticut have a big decision following Biden's vaccine mandate

The mandate applies to employees of the executive branch, federal contractors and yes even private employers with more than 100 employees.

HARTFORD, Conn — Big Connecticut employers have a big decision to make. Will they implement President Biden’s new COVID vaccine mandate? It’s a controversial issue that has people divided. 

President Biden laid blame squarely at the feet of the unvaccinated during a news conference of Thursday saying, “your refusal has cost all of us.”

The President cited the fact that hospitalizations and deaths continue to climb across the country, as the Delta variant surges. The weekly average of deaths and hospitalizations here in Connecticut however, is down.

RELATED: Biden announces new vaccine mandates affecting 100 million Americans

President Biden has gone from suggesting, to urging, to incentivizing, to now mandating.

"I don’t know if it’s constitutional," said Eric Gjede, the VP of Public Policy for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

"The reality is this virus is still kicking our butts," Sen. Chris Murphy said.

President Biden has ordered sweeping vaccine requirements affecting 100-million Americans.

"Were just two or three variants away from one that will resist the vaccine," Sen. Richard Blumenthal added.

The mandate applies to employees of the executive branch, federal contractors and yes even private employers with more than 100 employees.

"We already have a labor shortage in this state," CBIA's Gjede said. "Will this impact that and make it more so? Will people decide they simply do not want to be vaccinated and therefore plan to drop out of the workforce entirely?"

Sen. Murphy says no.

"One of the reasons that people aren’t coming back to work is because they don’t feel safe."

Kevin Grigg, CEO of Fuss and O’Neill, a manufacturing firm in Manchester with 300 employees spread across New England, said they have avoided mandating vaccines to date, and their intent was to continue to avoid it.

RELATED: Most workplaces in viral text do mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, including CDC and Pfizer

Grigg tells FOX61 he won’t use the cover of the federal government to implement something that may or may not get struck down by the courts.

"We really don’t want to create division within our ranks," Grigg added.

However, Tim Jenkins of Windsor told FOX61 vaccines shouldn’t be divisive and his reasons are personal.

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"I have a brother and a cousin who got COVID plus double pneumonia, my brother spent almost a week in the hospital," Jenkins said. "My cousin has been in the hospital two and half weeks and is on a ventilator, multiple organ failure, he’s still fighting like a champ. It’s tough. Neither of them were vaccinated. My brother has changed his mind. But it should have to come to that."

President Biden has said businesses could face fines of $14,000 for each violation.

Fuss & O’Neill told FOX61 if it comes to that and the courts uphold the mandate, they would implement it.

The President’s mandate also comes with an option get a weekly COVID test instead.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 


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