The Biden administration has withdrawn its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) affecting large employers following the Supreme Court's decision this month, though it will still pursue it as a proposed rule.
The withdrawal is effective today, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website.
"Although OSHA is withdrawing the vaccination and testing ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, the agency is not withdrawing the ETS as a proposed rule," the website states. "The agency is prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard."
The ETS requires employers with 100 or more employees to either vaccinate them against COVID-19 or regularly test them. Employers were also required to track the vaccination status of their workers. The rule would have impacted more than 80 million U.S. workers.
On Jan. 13, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block the rule, saying the Biden administration overstepped its authority and that aspects of the ETS weren't legal. As a result, the case was remanded back to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the lower court could do little but conform to the Supreme Court's ruling. The Biden administration's actions dismiss this case.
Trent Cotney, CEO of Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, recommends contractors continue to track the vaccination status of their employees. He said this will be helpful as variants continue to emerge and more customers request vaccinated crews.
"We're not out of this yet," Cotney told RC. "I'd love to think that this is over, but I don't think it is, and there may be different ways they go about trying to enforce vaccines on employers and employees."
The withdrawal comes at a time where the omicron variant is causing spikes in cases around the country, and health officials have detected a new sub-variant of omicron in more than 40 countries, including the U.S.