The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended its enforcement of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private workers.
Citing a recent order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that granted a motion to stay the vaccine mandate, OSHA announced it would temporarily stop enforcement “pending future developments in the litigation.”
“The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the [COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing 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 agency’s website stated.
Earlier this month, more than two dozen private companies and 11 states sued OSHA and the Labor Department, prompting the court’s order.
The lawsuit argues that for more than 100 years, the United States Supreme Court “has recognized that policies on compulsory vaccination lie within the police powers of the States, and that ‘[t]hey are matters that do not ordinarily concern the national government,’” according to Jacobson v. Massachusetts.
“Local business owners have told me that the vaccine mandate would decimate their businesses, including some that have been around for decades, and they’re certainly not alone – there are thousands of businesses in Missouri alone that could be negatively affected by this mandate,” said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
Another set of states – led by Louisiana – filed a separate federal lawsuit challenging Biden’s vaccine mandate, bringing the total number of states suing the administration over the OSHA rule to 22.
“The Court’s action not only halts Biden from moving forward with his unlawful overreach, but also commands the judicious review we sought,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted. “[President Biden] will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by our Constitution.”
On November 4, the White House unveiled the timeline for President Biden’s previously announced plan to force the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing on private employees who work at businesses with 100 or more employees, or if they are healthcare workers employed at facilities that serve Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Those impacted by the vaccine mandates will have until January 4 to become fully vaccinated, or otherwise comply with the mandates, or face fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
In addition to regular negative COVID-19 tests, unvaccinated employees will be required to wear face masks in the workplace, and OSHA estimated its rule will affect roughly 84 million U.S. workers.