The Biden administration on Thursday announced an aggressive and comprehensive plan aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and increasing vaccination rates in the US
In North Texas, business leaders and workers are fast advancing to interpret what the new order for COVID-19 protocols would mean in their workplaces. The White House estimates its new plan will affect about 100 million Americans.
This is what we know so far about the order and how it will affect local businesses.
No. By providing the ability to regularly test workers for COVID-19, the order does not impose vaccines on anyone in the private sector. However, the order creates friction for employers who are still hesitant to implement vaccination warrants.
The order will create a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard that requires private companies with more than 100 employees to need vaccinations or test their workers weekly to detect COVID-19. The option of undergoing periodic COVID-19 testing provides a way to continue to comply with workers who may cite a religious exemption for vaccination.
The new rules also require employers to give workers free time to get vaccinated.
Sectors delivered a hard vaccine requirement with no option to test according to order: federal government workers, contractors working with the federal government, domestic workers, and health care institutions participating in Medicare and Medicaid.
According to the Biden Administration, there will be “substantial fines” for large private employers that do not require vaccination or analysis of workers on a weekly basis. These fines could amount to $ 14,000 for infringement.
OSHA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, will oversee the implementation of the new vaccine requirements. OSHA enforces its existing regulations through an inspection process that depends on workers first filing a written complaint with the agency.
The Biden Administration has instructed OSHA to draft what it calls a Temporary Emergency Standard in the “coming weeks” to implement the new vaccine and testing standards for large private entrepreneurs.
But even an emergency rule could take months for the agency to implement and provide guidelines to companies, former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
“The best case [scenario] as a practical measure, it will probably be a policy that will affect the fall of 2022. It will certainly not be implemented in time for the delta wave, ”Gottlieb said.
Experts predict that the part of Biden’s mandate that specifically affects private entrepreneurs could be challenged in court. Republican elected officials, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, have already expressed outrage over Biden’s order and have indicated they intend to challenge it. Once published by OSHA, emergency rules are likely to remain in effect unless a court blocks them.