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Vaccine Mandate and Area Businesses

Big changes are contained in the new vaccine mandate released by the Biden Administration late last week.

The new rule from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers with at least 100 workers to ensure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly tests by January 4, 2022. Additionally, unvaccinated employees must wear a face covering in the workplace.

Also, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring all health care workers, clinical and non-clinical, under Medicare and Medicaid programs to be fully vaccinated by the January 4, 2022, deadline. The two rules together cover about two-thirds of the country's workforce. Violations carry stiff penalties.

The administration previously announced vaccination requirements for federal employees and contractors.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt announced immediately he will sue to prevent the mandate from taking affect on private employers. Several other states’ Attorneys General have announced the same intention. Schmidt said in his release he believes the federal government does not have the authority to unilaterally force private employers to mandate vaccination or foot the bill for weekly testing.

So, what are the takeaways for the Cape/Jackson metro business community? COVID-19 is lingering with us both in person and in policy. If your business falls into one of the covered categories, you should monitor the situation closely and pay attention to the deadlines and lawsuits.

At the Chamber, we will continue to help with information dissemination.