Houston business owner reacts to President Biden's vaccine mandate announcement

On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced his plan to get more Americans vaccinated for COVID-19.

"The bottom line is, we’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated workers," said President Biden.

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The plan calls for all businesses, with at least 100 workers, to require their employees to get vaccinated. If they remain unvaccinated, they’ll be required to get tested for COVID-19 once a week.

"I’m for vaccines, but I cannot tell my employees to get vaccinated," said Sam Zavary, CEO of Exclusive Furniture in Houston. "This kind of puts us in a hard position where we’re mandated to tell them."

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According to Zavary, they have roughly 286 employees at Exclusive Furniture. Zavary says about a third of these workers aren’t vaccinated. Zavary worries they could lose employees over the new vaccine mandate.

"I [told] one of my employees, who’s not vaccinated, you might have to get vaccinated," said Zavary. "She said, I’m not going to get vaccinated. I said, there’s a law. She said well, I’ll go find another job."

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On Thursday, we spoke with FOX 26 legal analyst, Chris Tritico, about the new mandate.

"Clearly the President has the authority to direct OSHA," said Tritico. "The single legal question is, does OSHA have the authority to issue a rule, mandating individuals to get a vaccine?"

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The vaccine mandate could impact as many as 100 million Americans. It would also require vaccines for employees at federally funded schools and hospitals.

In the announcement, President Biden also urged state governors to issue vaccine mandates for school districts.

"I’m not against the vaccine by any means, but to force and mandate something on someone is completely wrong," said Brett Guillory, a high school teacher for HISD. 

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On Twitter, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the move a "power grab." Abbott added that "Biden’s vaccine mandate is an assault on private businesses."

"We don’t want to make it mandatory still, even with this law," said Zavary. "But, how do we get tested, what kind of fines?  A lot of questions I don’t know [the answers to] right now."

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