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December 20, 2021 4:07pm

Federal vaccine and testing mandate to go into effect

Late last week the 6th Circuit Court in Cincinnati reversed preliminary injunctions on the Biden Administration’s vaccine and testing mandate for employers with more than 100 employees, allowing it to go into effect. On Saturday, OSHA chimed in saying that it will begin enforcing the mandate and could start issuing fines as soon as January 10. However, they added they will not begin issuing citations for noncompliance with the testing portion of the ETS before February 9th as long as the employer is showing a good faith effort to comply. Within hours, dozens of groups had filed emergency appeal applications to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting a stay, pending Supreme Court review. We will continue monitoring any future judicial reviews and update you if the enforcement guidelines or deadlines change.

With the mandate set to go into effect at the beginning of the year, here is a reminder of steps businesses with more than 100 employees must take to comply:

  • Assess and track the vaccination status of all employees
  • All unvaccinated employees must begin wearing a mask at all times
  • Starting January 4, any unvaccinated employees must submit proof of a negative COVID test at least weekly to enter the workplace

The mandate for private employers is one of three actions taken by the Biden Administration in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, a federal appeals court stayed an injunction prohibiting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing their COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare providers. Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees of federal contractors.

As all of these regulations remain uncertain pending further judicial review, employers are struggling to understand their obligations and responsibilities amid these legal challenges.