January 13, 2022 3:17pm
SCOTUS strikes down vaccine and testing mandate for large employers
After months of speculation, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing mandate for employers with more than 100 employees in a 6-3 ruling on ideological lines. That means that Greater Louisville businesses are no longer required to implement or enforce a COVID-19 vaccine or testing mandate.
While the sweeping vaccine or testing requirements for large private companies has been struck down, the high court allowed similar requirements to stand for healthcare workers that work with Medicare or Medicaid patients.
The overturned corporate mandate went into effect on Monday with employers needing to assess and track employee vaccination status. The case will now return to the Sixth Circuit for further consideration on the merits of the challenge. Therefore, while blocked from going into effect, the ETS is not yet invalidated.
Following the news, GLI president and CEO, Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, issued the following statement:
“Since a federal vaccine and testing mandate was announced last Fall, we have been closely tracking its implementation and potential impact on Greater Louisville businesses. While we still believe vaccines are a powerful tool to keep our economy running as we learn to live with COVID, we were concerned that there could be negative and unintended consequences for businesses who are already experiencing critical workforce shortages. We are optimistic that there will be fewer workforce and supply chain disruptions since businesses will no longer have to comply with a federal mandate. We urge our community to continue getting vaccinated and boosted so that we can mitigate the impact of COVID on our economy.”
This is breaking news and may be updated.
What should businesses do now?
While GLI empowers employers to make decisions that are best for their employees’ safety, our community currently has the highest transmission rate we have seen at any time during the pandemic. The Omicron wave is already impacting our economy with many businesses having to temporarily close or reduce hours due to short staffing from employee quarantines, sick days, and NTI.
We continue to encourage you to utilize tools at your disposal to encourage vaccinations including mandates, incentives, and educational materials. Here are steps you can take today to curb the spread of Omicron and keep our economy running:
- Resume mask-wearing in indoor settings. Public health experts urge everyone to upgrade from cloth masks to surgical masks and claim Kn95 and N95 masks are superior at filtering out Omicron.
- Encourage vaccinations and boosters. Science shows that while more breakthrough cases are occurring with Omicron, the vaccines are still excellent at preventing severe illness and death. If you have not already, get vaccinated and if you’re eligible do not delay getting a booster. As business leaders, we encourage you to also work with your staff to ensure they are vaccinated and boosted. Find vaccine and booster shots.
- Get tested if you have symptoms or a known exposure. While demand for tests has escalated, many sites still have same day appointments or no appointment requirements. The CDC recommends testing 3-5 days after an exposure or at the onset of symptoms. Find testing sites in Louisville here.