12.08.2021 Update: Federal Contractor COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
On December 1, 2021, we provided an update on the current status of the various federal COVID-19 vaccine rules. In that alert, we noted that a federal court sitting in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction, temporarily halting enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors, but only as to covered contracts performed in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. The landscape has changed yet again, and, on December 7, 2021, another federal court sitting in Georgia issued its own preliminary injunction halting enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors, but this time, nationwide. That court decision is linked here. As such, all of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 recent vaccine rules – the mandatory vaccine rules applicable to CMS-covered healthcare facilities, the vaccine or test rules applicable to private employers with 100 or more employees, and now the mandatory vaccine rules applicable to federal contractors and subcontractors – are all currently on hold. We anticipate that there will be additional court decisions and appeals before the dust settles completely. For now however, while employers may choose to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their staff, absent state or local laws (such as the recent NYC vaccine mandate) saying otherwise, they are not required to do so. We will provide further updates as these judicial challenges continue.