By Isabel Van Brugen
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it has suspended the implementation and enforcement of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses.
The announcement came shortly after a U.S. appeals court rejected a challenge by the Biden administration on Nov. 12 and reaffirmed its decision to put on hold OSHA’s mandate, which requires that businesses with 100 employees or more ensure that workers either be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022, or be tested weekly and wear a mask.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans stated in an opinion that OSHA’s mandate is “staggeringly overbroad,” and ordered it to “take no steps to implement or enforce the Mandate until further court order.”
The court had previously issued a temporary halt to the mandate on Nov. 6, pending litigation.
The Labor Department affirmed in a statement in recognition of the court’s ruling: “The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS ‘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.”
At least 27 U.S. states, as well as private employers, religious organizations, and other groups, have sued the Biden administration, claiming that it’s exceeding its authority in issuing the mandate.
In the 5th Circuit Court’s reaffirmation on Nov. 12, it stated that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate “raises serious constitutional concerns” and “likely exceeds the federal government’s authority.”
Biden administration officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Meanwhile, White House officials have continued to call for employers to adhere to the vaccine mandate for private businesses, after the initial Nov. 6 ruling.
“We think people should not wait,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Nov. 8, responding to a question on whether employers should hold off on requiring employees to be vaccinated after the court put the mandate on hold.
“We say: Do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe,” Jean-Pierre said. “It is important and critical to do, and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness.”
Employers “should not wait” for legal matters to be resolved before adhering to Biden’s vaccine requirement, she said.
“They should continue to go—move forward and make sure that they’re getting their workplace vaccinated.”
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.
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