Hampton Roads workers weigh in on Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Posted at 9:36 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 23:31:34-04

NORFOLK, Va. – President Joe Biden’s message about vaccinating the unvaccinated resonated with Ahlek Mitchell.

“COVID is killing people, so regardless I believe something that's supposed to stop that should be promoted,” Mitchell said.

Thursday, Biden announced that soon all employers with 100 or more workers will be required to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or require proof of a negative test at least once a week.

The mandate trickles down to millions of workers in the private sector, like Mitchell, who works at Grain in Downtown Norfolk.

“It takes away your right of free choice, but I believe if it’s to help you, it should be made mandatory,” said Mitchell.

Others had differing opinions.

“I don't agree with that, personally,” said Jordan White of Norfolk.

White works at Moe’s on Granby Street. He’s on the fence about getting the shot and doesn’t believe the White House should order him or anyone else to do it.

“I don’t think they should force people to get it at all,” he said. “I'm pro-choice, so I think it is their decision. Whether they want to get it or not is totally up to them.”

During his announcement Thursday, President Biden said, “This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you and the people you work with.”

The president also vowed to sign an executive order requiring all federal employees and contractors to be fully vaccinated with no option for weekly testing.

The goal, according to the administration, is to help stop the spread of the virus, especially as the Delta variant continues to drive up case numbers at an alarming rate.

Pieria White Works at Hilton Norfolk The Main, where the manager tells News 3 employees are not currently required to get the COVID shot.

White said she supports the mandate and is ready for when that day comes.

“I think everybody needs to be vaccinated because everybody is walking out here with no mask on and think it’s okay to walk around with no mask and no vaccine to get done,” she said.

Related: Local nursing homes respond to federal requirement to vaccinate staff

News 3 also spoke with a couple of federal contractors. They did not want to appear on camera but said dozens of their workers are planning on quitting if they're forced to get the vaccine.

Click here for our full COVID vaccination guide.