By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will start requiring large employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing after an appeals court on Friday lifted the stay against enforcing the Biden administration rule.
Last month, Gov. Chris Sununu joined an 11-state lawsuit opposing the vaccination mandate on large businesses.
To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA said it will start issuing citations for noncompliance with any requirements on Jan. 10 and for noncompliance with the testing requirements on Feb. 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance, adding it will work closely with the regulated community – businesses with 100 or more employees – to provide compliance help.
Sununu said when announcing the lawsuit opposed to the mandate last month that “COVID vaccines are the most effective tool we have to protect ourselves and our community from this virus.
“But as the head of state, I recognize the limitations of government in mandating this personal medical decision. President Biden has created a loophole to facilitate this overreach, which is why I fully support the Attorney General’s decision to sign on to this lawsuit,” Sununu said.
InDepthNH.org has reached out to Sununu’s spokesman for comment and will update the story when he responds.
Judge Jane B. Stranch wrote the ruling that lifts the stay by a split three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati.
“The record establishes that COVID-19 has continued to spread, mutate, kill, and block the safe return of American workers to their jobs. To protect workers, OSHA can and must be able to respond to dangers as they evolve,” Stranch wrote.
“OSHA is gratified the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard,” the agency said in a statement Saturday.
“OSHA can now once again implement this vital workplace health standard, which will protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace.”