WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Biden administration is pausing its execution of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for businesses after a court ruling Friday ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to suspend similar activities.
The legal battle doesn’t end here. The Justice Department plans to fight back against the court order.
“Our message to businesses right now is to move forward with measures that will make their workplace safer,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered OSHA to take no action on enforcing the mandate. If allowed to carry out, the mandate requires businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure employees are either vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.
Republicans like Georgia’s Buddy Carter and Utah’s Mike Lee said while they are vaccinated, getting the shot should be an individual decision.
“I think vaccines are the most life-saving innovations in the history of medicine,” Carter said. “However, I disagree adamantly with mandating vaccines.”
Lee said the mandate is forcing people out of the workforce even if they skip the vaccine for religious or medical reasons.
“They’re being dismissed or placed on unpaid leave, or pushed into retirement with decreased benefits,” Lee said.
Opponents of the vaccine requirement said the mandate will make the U.S. labor shortage worse. However, dozens of health care groups agree with the Biden administration, saying businesses should still implement the vaccine requirement to stem the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the holiday season.
According to the White House, 60% of businesses are moving forward with measures that keep their workplaces safe.
The court ruling specified that OSHA must stop enforcing the vaccine requirement — but it did not direct businesses not to implement it.