As Florida’s special session regarding vaccine mandates began yesterday, Florida’s business community shares concerns and opposition to the prospect of vaccine mandate bans.
Leading Age Florida represents continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Leading Age CEO, Steve Bahmer, said it is not possible for the facilities his organization represents to be in compliance with state and federal law unless there is a carve out.
“Nursing homes must comply with the federal rule because the federal law trumps state law. The loss of Medicaid and Medicare funding would be devastating to providers and could ultimately displace Florida’s most frail elders,” Bahmer said. “We cannot penalize long-term care providers who serve the state’s most vulnerable population and that have borne the greatest impact from this pandemic.”
Other entities within Florida’s business community have also voiced their opposition to complete vaccine mandate bans. Fortunately for them, the bills currently being considered by the legislature are considered “watered down” versions of mandate bans.
“This is very contradictory to where the governor has positioned this state,” said Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chambers of Commerce. “We have been rolling out the red carpet to attract new employers and working to help all types of employers to thrive. So if someone wants to come to Florida but wants their employees vaccinated and now they can be held liable, this might make them think twice.’’
Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson said many of their members are not imposing mandates but also stopped short of offering support for the legislature’s efforts to ban them altogether.
“Most of our members are not mandating the vaccine by far, but those that are generally giving options and letting employees get a vaccine or get tested and mask up or work from home,” Wilson said. “We are actually searching for companies that are not.”
The Florida chapter of The National Federations of Independent Business (NFIB) offered their concern for the legislation primarily focusing on the definition of what constitutes a vaccine mandate from the business perspective.
“I don’t want to comment without saying that we appreciate Gov. Ron DeSantis pushing back on the vaccine mandate,” said NFB Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle.
– – –