Millions of public and private employees in Michigan and the U.S. must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or prepare to submit regular negative tests and wear masks in the workplace if they want to keep their jobs, under a federal mandate announced Thursday.
That means in addition to employees of large Michigan private companies, thousands of public school teachers, police officers, firefighters and other local public employees must also abide by the new rule.
This potentially sets up an enormous undertaking for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and an administration recently reticent to force schoolchildren, educators or businesses to institute vaccine or mask requirements.
“We are closely following the federal government’s rollout on protections for working people,” Whitmer spokesman Bobby Leddy said.
“In Michigan, we continue to encourage Michiganders to get vaccinated as this is the best way to keep people safe and continue our strong economic growth.”