During his speech to the nation outlining his administration’s plans to deal with the surging omicron COVID variant, President Joe Biden admits the mask mandates are unpopular, but that did not stop him from insisting they may be necessary.
“When people are vaccinated or tested, they’re much less likely to get sick and less likely to spread it to others,” the president said while addressing the nation from the White House’s State Dining Room.
“Customers are more likely to come in and shop because they know it’s a safe environment,” he continued. “I know vaccination requirements are unpopular for many, not even popular for those who are anxious to get them. My administration has put them in place not to control your life, but to save your life and the lives of others.”
The president’s comments come after the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati lifted a November injunction that had blocked the rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which mandates that private businesses with at least 100 workers require staff to be vaccinated or tested regularly.
Biden said during his speech that the rule is “legal and effective” and will save “thousands of American lives.”
Amid a surge in new cases due to the spread of the omicron variant, Biden announced three steps to build on his previously announced winter plan – including increased support for hospitals, access to free tests, and expanded capacity to get Americans vaccinated.