OSHA extends COVID-19 testing deadline to Feb. 9

OSHA extends COVID-19 testing deadline to Feb. 9

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration late Friday said it will extend the deadline for large businesses to comply with President Biden’s vaccinate-or-test rule after a federal appeals court reinstated it.

OSHA said it wanted to exercise “enforcement discretion” because the court battle suspended the rule for a time, causing uncertainty.

Agency officials said they will not cite a company for violating any part of the rule, or emergency temporary standard, until Jan. 10 and will not punish a company for failing to test unvaccinated workers until Feb. 9.

Previously, the agency wanted companies with 100 or more workers to impose a mask rule on unvaccinated workers by early December. The testing rule was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 4.

Court battles have upended Mr. Biden’s push to force workers into the vaccine clinic in the face of fast-moving variants.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati reinstated the OSHA rule Friday after the Fifth Circuit granted a stay last month. The stay had forced OSHA to suspend activities around the rule.

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. “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.”

Mr. Biden recently asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a separate mandate on health workers at hospitals receiving federal funds. 

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.