COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Biden Administration's vaccine or testing requirement for large businesses was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.
In a tweet, S.C. Governor Henry McMaster, who joined other Republican governor's pushing back against the mandate, called the ruling "a victory for the rule of law, federalism and the constitution."
Bob Morgan, the president of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, said employers had been preparing for its implementation despite staffing concerns.
“If you’re already short workers, say 10 percent, and if you have to implement a vaccine mandate, perhaps you believe you’re going to lose another 10 percent, you’re going to dig that hole even deeper," Morgan said. "So, companies are trying to do everything they can to keep people healthy and to keep the doors open, and we think the Supreme Court made the right decision.”
Despite this, many businesses are still finding employees off the job, as COVID-19 cases reach record highs.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise, something the White House hoped the mandate would help.
Still, the vaccine requirement for health care workers receiving Medicare and Medicaid remains, and could be life saving, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“It will cover 17 million health care workers at 76,000 medical facilities," Psaki said. "The Supreme Court upheld it and we will enforce that.”
Prisma Health said it will comply, but some nursing home staff are weary, despite cases rising in their facilities.
In a statement, The American Health Care Association, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care providers, said, "We respect the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court but remain concerned that the repercussions of the vaccine mandate among health care workers will be devastating to an already decimated long term care workforce. When we are in the midst of another COVID surge, caregivers in vaccine hesitant communities may walk off the job because of this policy, further threatening access to care for thousands of our nation's seniors. We continue to ask that (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and state surveyors show leniency during this critical time as well as consider a regular testing option for unvaccinated staff members to prevent worsening staff shortages."
Despite a blow to the larger requirement, federal leaders continue to urge vaccinations as a means to slow the spread.