A federal appeals court decided the Biden administration’s mandate that federal contractors be vaccinated against COVID-19 is back in effect — with some exceptions.
On Aug. 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit overturned a lower court ruling that applied an injunction nationwide against the mandate. The court determined this decision, made last December by U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker of the Southern District of Georgia, had overreached by making it nationwide.
Instead of applying nationwide, the court determined that relief would be provided only to the parties that actually brought the suit forward.
“Injunctive relief operates on specific parties, not geographic territories, and identifying the plaintiff States and trade association members is possible,” wrote Judge Britt Grant.
Those who are exempted from the mandate are members of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), specifically members who bid on federal contracts, and those in the states listed in the case. These include Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.
“The injunction was a direct result of ABC intervening as the lone business group challenging the federal contractor vaccine mandate, along with the plaintiff state governments,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “ABC will continue to lead efforts to push back on the Biden administration’s executive overreach harming federal contractors with respect to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other anti-competitive and costly policies.”
Previously, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provided a COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which called for employers with 100 or more employees to either vaccinate their employees or have them regularly tested. The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the stay on the ETS on Jan. 13, 2022. Following this, the Biden administration withdrew the ETS.
In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention streamlined its guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety. These updated guidelines include no longer quarantining if people come into close contact with those infected with COVID as well as social distancing.