In a blow to the Biden Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it will be suspending the enforcement of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate directed at large private businesses.
OSHA released a statement on its website assuring that it continues with the goal of ensuring that workers are protected from the ongoing pandemic. However, OSHA will be suspending activities related to the mandate due to pending litigation.
In the statement, OSHA commented that “the court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS [Emergency Temporary Standard] ‘until further court order.’ While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”
The announcement comes during the week when the Florida House takes on a Special Session called by Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to address concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. One topic alleged to be discussed was the state possibly pulling out of OSHA.
President Biden announced a plan in September to have all private employers with 100 or more employees mandate the vaccine, and January 4th was set as the deadline for employers to mandate the vaccine or require weekly testing for employees. However, last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals released a 22-page memo that called the President’s COVID-19 mandate and testing mandate “fatally flawed,” arguing that OSHA “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order.”
In response to the court’s ruling, the White House is still urging businesses to follow through with the guidance of the COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate. After the court announced its ruling, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House Deputy Press Secretary commented that “we think people should not wait. We say: Do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. It is important and critical to do and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness.”