Biden orders federal workers to get vaccinated or submit to testing

Biden also calls on state and local governments to offer $100 payments to individuals in order to incentivize coronavirus vaccinations.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

US President Joe Biden on Thursday directed all federal employees and onsite contractors to show that they are vaccinated or otherwise submit to regular coronavirus testing.

Biden also instructed his administration to apply similar standards to all federal government contractors, according to The Hill. The White House said it will encourage private sector employers to follow his lead.

Thursday’s announcement represents a sizable shift as the White House tries to convince more people to get vaccinated as COVID-19 cases rise due to the spread of the delta variant.

A growing number of businesses have elected to mandate vaccines for employees as a condition of returning to in-person work. Several private colleges have done the same for their students. Earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first public entity to require vaccines for its health care workers.

According to the White House announcement, the federal government will ask employees and onsite contractors to attest to their vaccination status. Those who do not show that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will need to mask, socially distance and submit to weekly or twice weekly coronavirus testing. Their work travel will also be restricted.

Also on Thursday, Biden called on state and local governments to use funds from his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to offer $100 payments to individuals in order to incentivize coronavirus vaccinations.

The payments would be offered to newly vaccinated Americans to provide “an extra incentive to boost vaccination rates, protect communities, and save lives,” the Treasury Department said in an announcement quoted by The Hill.

“Treasury stands ready to give technical assistance to state and local governments so that they may use the funds effectively to support increased vaccination in their communities, and Treasury will partner with the Department of Health and Human Services throughout this effort,” it said.

Biden formally announced the new incentive plan during an address on the coronavirus at the White House.

“I know that paying people to get vaccinated might sound unfair to folks that have gotten vaccinated already but here’s the deal: if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them,” Biden said. “We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated.”

The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law, which Biden signed in March, included $350 billion in funding to assist state, territorial and local governments in battling the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that even vaccinated Americans wear face masks indoors in areas of high transmission of COVID-19, citing new evidence that vaccinated people can spread the delta variant.