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Dallas Regional Chamber distances itself from Gov. Abbott’s ban on vaccine mandates

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

In a statement, the chamber said “a full economic recovery can only happen if more people get vaccinated.”
Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the Dallas Regional Chamber at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.(Michael Ainsworth – Staff Photographer)

By Dom DiFurio

The Dallas Regional Chamber on Tuesday said it supports businesses’ right to choose between requiring vaccinations for workers and regular testing.

“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,” the Dallas Regional Chamber said in a statement.

“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 DRC spoke out less than 24 hours after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order mandating that Texas businesses cannot require employees or customers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Two of the nation’s largest airlines — American and Southwest, both headquartered in North Texas — have already said they’ll defy Abbott’s order and follow President Biden’s vaccine mandate requirement for federal contractors.

The business organization’s statement did not mention Abbott or Biden by name. Abbott’s order was seen as a rebuke of the Biden administration’s push for employers with more than 100 workers to mandate vaccination or provide for regular testing.

Earlier this summer, the chamber led a COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign in Dallas-Fort Worth in an effort to push the region over the threshold for herd immunity. Titled “Take Care of Business,” it used targeted advertising and a sweepstakes to encourage North Texans ages 16 and older to get vaccinated so businesses could resume pre-pandemic levels of activity.

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