New legislation announced Friday by California Democratic state lawmakers would mandate all businesses to require their employees and independent contractors to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine in an ongoing effort to promote workplace health and safety, U.S. News reports. The announcement was immediately criticized by Republican lawmakers as government overreach, and many opponents also suggest that such widespread measures are no longer necessary.
The bill, if passed, will require eligible workers to receive both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-shot vaccine like Johnson & Johnson. Employees or contractors who qualify for medical or religious exemption would submit to regular testing under a proposed amendment to the bill, but penalties for those who refuse to comply have not yet been determined.
[Buffy] Wicks and other supporters said the mandate is needed even as California moves to ease other requirements and anticipates moving into a new “endemic” phase that accepts the coronavirus is here to stay but is manageable as immunity builds.
“That’s fundamentally what this bill is about," she said. "Getting back to some sense of normalcy so we can go on with our lives, and we don’t have these constant interruptions and outbreaks and all these things that we’ve been experiencing for so long.”
The mandate would stay in place unless the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decides that COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer needed.