President Biden Announces Aggressive Mandates to Combat the Rise in COVID-19 Cases

By: Melanie A. Kalmbach

As COVID-19 Delta variant cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise throughout the nation, President Joe Biden addressed the White House’s plan to boost vaccinations. On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency rule mandating all employers with 100 or more employees to require their employees to either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis. Employers are free to take these mandates even further by opting out of testing and requiring full vaccination for all employees. Employers who fail to comply with the minimum mandates could incur fines of $14,000 per violation.

In addition, President Biden announced vaccine mandates for all health care providers who accept federal funds such as Medicare and Medicaid, all federal employees, and contractors (without the option to undergo weekly tests), staffs of Head Start programs and Department of Defense Schools and Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools. Federal employees who refuse to be vaccinated will be subject to disciplinary action including termination. As of September 10, 2021, individuals traveling on airplanes who refuse to wear masks may face up to $3,000 in fines. These new mandates are estimated to affect 100 million Americans, although many of these individuals are already vaccinated. For more information on President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan, here.

Shortly after President Biden announced these new mandates, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voiced its intention to file a lawsuit against the Biden Administration once the mandates go into effect. The RNC plans to argue that the mandates are unconstitutional. Likewise, the American Federation of Government Employees intends to address the mandate with the White House before the Executive Order is implemented. Regardless, it appears that President Biden has every intention of signing an Executive Order effectuating these mandates.

While there will likely be legal challenges possible delaying implementation, employers with 100 or more employees should begin creating internal policies to comply with the Executive Order. At this time, it does not appear that employers with less than 100 employees are affected by the new mandates.

If you require assistance preparing internal policies, please contact Melanie Kalmbach or a DSV attorney.

***The information contained on this website is for informational purposes and is not intended as formal legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such.  No attorney client relationship is established or intended as a result of the information contained on this website.**