NFIB State Director Annie Spilman released the following statement today in response to the City of Austin’s mandate requiring small businesses and other employers to enforce its latest COVID-19 mandate:
“Once again, the City of Austin is overreaching by decreeing that small businesses and other employers will be held criminally liable if they fail to enforce the city’s COVID-19 mandate.
“Our small business members are taking the pandemic seriously and doing everything they reasonably can to protect the health and safety of their customers and employees, but they do not have the resources or training to become unpaid law enforcement officers.
“Small businesses already are contending with the Omicron surge, disruptions in the supply chain, the lack of qualified job applicants, and rising prices. Now, the city is asking them to put their employees at further risk by confronting customers who don’t want to take the vaccine or wear a mask and resent being asked to comply.
“Our hope is that the City of Austin will reconsider or, if they don’t, that state officials will get involved to ensure that cities and counties don’t create a patchwork of local regulations that accomplish little besides adding to the challenges that small businesses already are facing.”