As 2021 winds down, there have been a few developments regarding COVID-19 that employers should be aware of:
- The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) for employers with 100 or more employees is back on, at least for now. This rule will require employers to either mandate that all employees get vaccinated, or that unvaccinated employees submit to regular testing and wear masks. The Fifth Circuit had enjoined the ETS but now the Sixth Circuit has lifted the injunction. Stay tuned: the U.S. Supreme Court will hear challenges to the ETS on January 7, 2022.
- The federal contractor vaccine mandate remains stayed, after the Eleventh Circuit on December 17, 2021, upheld the nationwide injunction issued by a lower court earlier in the month. The Eleventh Circuit will hear additional arguments in the case in late January, and then the matter will undoubtedly head to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- The CDC has shortened its recommended isolation and quarantine periods for the general population. Asymptomatic people who test positive for COVID-19 now need to isolate for only 5 days, followed by 5 days of mask-wearing. People exposed to COVID-19 who are unvaccinated, or are more than 6 months out from their second vaccine dose (or 2 months out from the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, should quarantine for 5 days and wear a mask for an additional 5 days. People who are vaccinated and boosted do not need to quarantine following exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days. The CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, get tested 5 days after exposure and quarantine immediately if they develop symptoms.
Vandeventer Black LLP’s attorneys are available to help employers with these and other COVID-related issues.