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November 28, 2022

Virginia business community applauds SCOTUS ruling against vaccine mandate

Members of Virginia’s business community applauded a U.S. Supreme Court decision that temporarily blocked a federal regulation designed to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for workers pending a ruling on the legislation.

A regulation, which President Joe Biden sought to promulgate through OSHA, would require businesses with 100 or more workers to require all employees to be vaccinated or receive a weekly COVID-19 test. The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a motion to stay the legislation, which prevents it from going into effect until the court system rules on the merits. The justices determined that the lawsuit to find the rule unconstitutional is likely to succeed on the merits.

Members of the business community in Virginia applauded the court decision.

“I think it’s positive,” Robert Melvin, the director of government affairs at the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association, told The Center Square. “We weren’t supportive of mandates on this issue.”

Melvin said he knew waitstaff who had already quit their job to avoid the vaccine mandate, and he does not think this is an isolated incident. He said encouraging people to get the vaccine is fine, but the decision should reside in the employer-employee relationship. The group also opposes policies that would restrict employers from imposing vaccine mandates if they choose to.

Brett Vassay, the president of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, told The Center Square that the decision will protect manufacturing jobs in the commonwealth.

“The SCOTUS decision will help Virginia’s 6,750 manufacturers continue to protect our 235,000 workers’ safety and jobs,” Vassay said. “Few people doubted that the mandate was beyond OSHA’s legitimate reach.”

Stephen Haner, a senior fellow for state and local tax policy at the free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, told The Center Square that the decision will make things easier for businesses.

“One less set of [government] mandates and reports will make their lives easier, but many of them have imposed their own employee rules and they remain valid,” Haner said. “Employers can make their own decisions.”

If the court ultimately rules that the regulation is unconstitutional, it’s unlikely Virginians will see a similar rule pushed at the state level. Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, who is sworn in on Saturday, has expressed opposition to vaccine mandates and has said he intends to join the lawsuit against the federal rules.

This article was originally posted on Virginia business community applauds SCOTUS ruling against vaccine mandate