The Supreme Court has stopped a requirement that employees at businesses with more than 100 employees would be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or partake in weekly testing and wear a mask at work. The requirement was put in place by the Biden administration in 2021.
The court did rule, however, that the COVID -19 vaccine mandate put in place by the administration for most health care workers in the U.S. could move forward. The decision, which came Thursday (Jan. 13), comes as COVID-19 cakes are spiking across America due to the highly contagious omicron variant.
The Supreme Court’s unsigned opinion states, “Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly. Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
In regards to how the ruling would impact businesses, the court wrote, “The employers principally argue that the Standard will disrupt their businesses by prompting hundreds of thousands of employees to leave their jobs. But OSHA expressly considered that claim, and found it exaggerated. According to OSHA, employers that have implemented vaccine mandates have found that far fewer employees actually quit their jobs than threaten to do so.”
Last week, the U.S. reported a record single-day number of daily COVID-19 cases, with more than 1 million new infections. That number has held steady for more than a week, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks daily COVID-19 cases across the nation.