In November of 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) presented the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) concerning the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. A federal appeals court has reversed previous court rulings that placed a temporary hold and allowed OSHA to move forward with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Who does the federal vaccine mandate apply to?

The Biden administration vaccine and testing requirement for private businesses apply to 80 million American workers. It requires private companies with 100 or more employees to have their workers vaccinated by January 9th.

This mandate applies to the following:

  • Federal workers and employees of contractors that do business with the federal government.
  • Head Start programs, as well as schools run by the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Education.
  • Workers in health care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, including hospitals and home health agencies.
  • Individuals applying to become lawful permanent residents.

Will there be citations for not complying with the federal vaccine mandate?

As of December 21st, 2021, the federal vaccine mandate is slated to begin on January 10th.  OSHA will not issue citations for non-compliance with the testing requirement before February 9th, as long as companies are making efforts to implement the rule. Following that date, it is possible that those who do not follow the regulation could face fines of up to $14,000 for each violation.

How does this impact the hospitality industry?

The federal mandate applies to private employers with 100 or more employees. Some restaurant groups already have mandates in place for their employees.

The New York Times shows an interactive map, highlighting which states currently have COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

Restaurants await specifics on how the mandate rules will impact them. Enterprise restaurant chains are more likely to be impacted because they will meet and exceed the size requirement. However, franchisees and LLCs within restaurant groups might not be included in the rule. This is because if it is deemed they are a separate business entity according to the law, they will fall under the 100 employee requirement.

To learn more about the federal vaccine mandate, we recommend the following sources:

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