Some Georgia companies may wait before complying with vaccine mandate

Emory University Physician Assistant student Nicole Groff gives Gage Kirby his vaccination shot during the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 5, 2021. The vaccinations were coordinated by Emory’s outbreak response team. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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Emory University Physician Assistant student Nicole Groff gives Gage Kirby his vaccination shot during the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park on Sunday, September 5, 2021. The vaccinations were coordinated by Emory’s outbreak response team. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Some Georgia employers likely will wait to see how legal challenges play out before complying with President Joe Biden’s mandate that private companies with more than 100 workers require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly tests, Georgia Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Clark said Monday.

Clark said companies are concerned about losing workers during an ongoing labor shortage, incorrectly following the rules and the costs to implement vaccine programs.

The White House estimated the rule will impact more than 80 million U.S. workers.

Georgia-based businesses may cite potential legal challenges from Gov. Brian Kemp and other organizations as a reason to postpone compliance, Clark said.

Republican governors in South Carolina and Texas also have said they will sue to block the mandate.

“I don’t know that we can say who’s going to comply and who’s not,” Clark said.

The Georgia Chamber will assist companies that want to comply and at the same time monitor legal challenges to the mandate, he said. He emphasized that the Georgia Chamber encourages workers to get vaccinated.

A handful of large companies in Georgia have required vaccinations for workers, including UPS and Emory Healthcare. But Coca-Cola Co., Southern Co. and others have said little about the mandate, other than that they are monitoring the situation and encouraging vaccinations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which will enforce the mandate, is expected to release details in the coming weeks.

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