Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson is pushing back against the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate introduced on Thursday by President Joe Biden.
Biden said his administration will soon require that any businesses that have more than 100 employees either ensure their workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly tests.
In a statement, Bronson said that the municipality, which has more than 100 employees, would not follow the president’s mandate and that he would not require Anchorage businesses to follow it either.
“The idea that government would mandate businesses to force personal medical decisions on their employees is flat out wrong and immoral, and beyond the authority of the president,” Bronson said. “I will not mandate that businesses require their employees to vaccinate. The Municipality will not comply with this directive of the president that will invite endless litigation; this is a obvious attempt to shift the national focus from President Biden’s devastating failure in Afghanistan, and we will not violate the privacy and independent healthcare decisions of our citizens in the process.”
A spokesman for Bronson said while the mayor believes the president’s mandates will likely be challenged in court, the Municipality of Anchorage is not preparing a legal response at this time.
It’s unclear if the mayor has any jurisdiction over other businesses that would be impacted by the president’s mandate.
Bronson has contracted COVID-19, and has said he has no plans to get the vaccine. He has also said he won’t institute any new mask or health mandates as COVID-19 cases surge in the city.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations are at an all-time high in the state, with more than 200 people fighting the virus in Alaska hospitals as of Thursday. A total of 442 Alaskans have died from the virus.