An engineering student at Penn State University describes the result of the mask mandate, in place across his campus. The mandate is in effect inside all school buildings, and it applies to students and faculty alike, regardless of vaccination status, resulting in what he calls a “Masking Theatre.”
Masquerade Mandate Reality
Many students arrive unmasked, then don masks across their chins as they approach a classroom, walking inside with nose or mouths exposed, informs the collegiate informer in the WSJ.
In the residence halls, most students walk around mask-less until told to wear one by a resident assistant. Some will even start eating when asked to wear a mask because, as PSU guidelines put it, “masks do not need to be worn when actively eating or drinking.” Walking around with a cookie in hand suddenly makes one immune to Covid, it would seem.
If masks work, why are Americans being asked to mask almost a full two years later?
Meanwhile, political vaccine jujitsu is causing real harm to Americans and U.S. social harmony, warns the WSJ. Yes, vaccines have saved tens of thousands of American lives. With the spread of the Delta variant, millions more got vaccinated during the summer.
Yet even as the U.S. was turning the corner on Delta, President Biden issued his sweeping vaccine diktats, which he no doubt hoped would boost his flagging public support. Polls show that vaccine mandates are popular with most Americans. But Mr. Biden’s mandate has hardened political opposition to vaccines and turned them into another accelerant for polarization.
President Biden has ordered employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated by 8 December, reports the WSJ. Healthcare providers, for example, risk losing government reimbursements if their workers aren’t vaccinated.
We’re from OSHA and We’re Here to Help
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is drafting an emergency rule requiring employers with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly. Many employers are imposing mandates, and hard deadlines, in anticipation of the OSHA rules.
In a sweeping executive order, Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday banned all state entities from implementing COVID-19 vaccine mandates without including carve-outs for “reasons of personal conscience” or “medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”
Governor Abbott on Biden’s Order:
In yet another instance of federal overreach, the Biden administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster.
An Unfair Legal Quandry?
Shouldn’t private employers be allowed to impose their own vaccine requirements? Texas Gov. Abbott’s response to Mr. Biden’s orders, however puts employers in a legal quandary, advises the WSJ. Whatever they do, they will be violating the law.
Not Fair to Businesses
Employers don’t want their workers getting sick. Illnesses can cause business disruptions as well as liability risks if workers infect customers. But employers also have to weigh these concerns against the risk that they will lose workers if they mandate vaccines. The risk-benefit calculation is different for each employer, which is why they need to be allowed to tailor their policies accordingly.
As the WSJ notes, some workers may figure they “can wait out Mr. Biden’s mandates, which may be enjoined by courts.”
But the economic and human costs will compound in the meantime. To take one example: Nursing homes have lost 10% of their workforces during the pandemic and say vaccine mandates are making it difficult to hire and retain workers.
The virus is thankfully ebbing again, and vaccine boosters should reduce the infection and death toll. But the damage to the U.S. economy and individual liberty that Mr. Biden has done may prove more stubborn.
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