Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly has blamed President Joe Biden for the COVID vaccine mandate for its employees that put them in a bind.

Gary Kelly was referring to being torn between the federal contractor rule dates back to September 9 and the recent order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banning COVID vaccine mandates by employers in the state, The Daily Wire reported.

Southwest Airlines is both a federal contractor and based in Dallas, Texas. Kelly said he has never been in favor of corporations imposing a vaccine mandate.

However, he noted that the executive order from Joe Biden mandates that all federal employees and federal contractors, which covers all major airlines, should have a vaccine mandate in place by December 8. 

"So we're working through that," he told CNBC on Tuesday.

Southwest Airlines was filled with cancellations in recent days. The airline company canceled more than 1,800 flights over the weekend, with the service interruptions continuing.

On Monday, more than 350 flights were also canceled. Southwest Airlines has blamed the weather and air traffic control issues in Florida dating back to Friday as it denied that the problems were attributable to vaccines mandates.

The Daily Wire reported that no other major airlines had such issues.

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COVID Vaccine Mandate on Airlines

Some airline companies had already established a COVID vaccine requirement for their respective staff. In August, United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines had imposed a vaccine requirement for their workforce.

United Airlines reported that more than 96 percent of its 67,000 U.S. employees had shared proof of vaccination after its late September deadline.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines has started to offer incentives such as extra pay to encourage its employees to get the vaccine, following Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines.

Gary Kelly said individuals could also apply for religious and medical exemptions. He noted that his goal is no one loses their job. He added that the objective is to improve health and safety while allowing people to keep their jobs.

Kelly repeatedly called on his staff to get vaccinated. However, he noted that he does not believe it is up to him to mandate people to get a vaccine.

Texas Ban on Vaccine Mandate

Greg Abbott has issued an executive order on Monday banning any "entity" in the state from implementing a vaccine mandate.

Abbott's order reads that "no entity" in the state can ask for a receipt of a COVID vaccine by any individual, including any employee or a consumer.

CBS News reported that people who will be discovered to violate the order will be subjected to a fine.

Abbott also announced that he has added the issue of banning vaccine mandates to the agenda of the next special session of Texas' legislature.

Greg Abbott noted that the COVID vaccine is "safe, effective, and the best defense" against the virus. However, the Republican governor said that it should remain voluntary and never forced.

Abbott's order comes after Joe Biden announced a vaccine measure in September, requiring all federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Mary Webber

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