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ENC federal employees react to Biden COVID guidelines

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - President Joe Biden set out a new list of guidelines for federal employees in his press conference on Thursday.

The new, more strict guidelines, require federal employees to verify vaccination. If they cannot verify, they are subject to mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing and other new rules. The new guidelines are an effort to increase the low vaccination rates among the millions of Americans who draw federal paychecks and to set an example for private employers around the country.

Some private employers like Google, Facebook, and others are requiring employees to be vaccinated. While these mandates have been put in place, federal employees in Onslow County have differences of opinion.

Al Burgess, President of the local American Federation of Government Employees fully supports the president saying, “You’ve got to understand too that we’re D.O.D employees, so the priority is the readiness of the warfighter, so in order to make sure the warfighter is ready you need to make sure that the personnel, whether they’re civilian or military are in a safe environment. We talk about freedom? This is how you protect freedom.”

Some Marines, like Zachary Elliot, have a difference of opinion. “I can see where he’s coming from where he wants to have everybody wear masks just to be safe, but I believe if you have the vaccination then I don’t think you should,” said Elliot.

Biden also urged state and local governments to use funds provided by the coronavirus relief package to incentivize vaccinations by offering $100.00 to individuals who get the shots. And he announced that small- and medium-sized businesses will receive reimbursements if they offer employees time off to get family members vaccinated.

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