Bob Harvey, CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston’s Chamber of Commerce, said the following:
“The governor’s executive order does not support Texas businesses’ ability and duty to create a safe workplace. While the courts will likely decide the validity of this order, we encourage all employers to continue to promote the importance of vaccinations with their employees.”
Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) was less explicit, not naming Abbott, but they released the following statement on Tuesday:
“From a business perspective, a full economic recovery can only happen if more people get vaccinated so that our communities stay healthy, and businesses can stay open.
Businesses have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all employees in the workplace. The DRC supports the choice of each individual employer to do what is best for their company, whether that includes a vaccine mandate with reasonable exceptions, or giving the option of regular testing for those not vaccinated to ensure businesses can operate safely and effectively.”
The Texas Hospital Association (THA), which represents one of the industries whose private hospitals were one of the earliest to begin vaccine mandates, also criticized the order.
“The time is now to set politics aside and let hospitals do what’s best to protect their patients,” said Ted Shaw, THA president and CEO.
“Texas hospitals strongly oppose efforts underway to hamstring them from being able to require vaccination of their own staff, many of whom are at the bedside every day with children and adults who are vulnerable to COVID-19. This political action undercuts the central mission of hospitals, and patients and staff cannot be put at unnecessary risk.”
This order runs contrary to a statement made by Abbott’s office earlier this year when he banned public entities from vaccine mandates: “Private businesses don’t need government running their business.”
Abbott’s expansion of executive power to micromanage what local governmental entities like cities, counties and school districts can and cannot do is one thing, a fight starting from his first days as Governor. But using his emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic to reach over to the private sector to control how they run their business might be more than what he bargained for.