ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Saturday granted an emergency stay temporarily halting enforcement of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers, citing “grave statutory and constitutional issues.”
In BST Holdings vs. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the three judge New Orleans-based panel stayed the mandate pending court review. The U.S. Justice department has until 5 p.m. today to respond to the petitioners’ motion for a permanent injunction. Until there is another decision, NACS urges convenience retailers who would be covered by the ETS to continue to prepare to comply, assuming that the court will not issue an injunction and that the 30- and 60-day deadlines will remain in place.
The Department of Labor said it would defend the rules in court. The attorneys general of Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina Texas and Utah, joined with several private companies Friday in challenging the mandate before the 5th Circuit. Additional legal challenges were waged by other states in other circuits.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said, “The Court’s action not only halts Biden from moving forward with his unlawful overreach, but it also commands the judicious review we sought. The President will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the Constitution.”
OSHA released the rules last week, and court challenges were anticipated. Under the emergency temporary standard, employers with 100 or more employees must ensure that all workers are vaccinated or tested weekly by January or face thousands of dollars in fines per violation. Employees who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 must also wear face masks on the job. Employers aren’t required to pay for testing.
NACS on Friday published a memo for NACS members explaining the implications of OSHA’s emergency temporary standard.