A federal appeals court imposed a stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine guidelines for US businesses on Saturday. Workers at organizations with 100 or more employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or subject to weekly testing, according to a new rule released Thursday.
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Affected businesses must give paid time for employees to get vaccinated and ensure that any unvaccinated employees wear face masks while at work, according to the guideline. The deadline for complying with the rules is January 4, 2022.
The rule, which was to be implemented by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was temporarily halted when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition for an emergency stay (OSHA).
Attorneys general from Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah, as well as a number of private businesses and advocacy groups, signed the petition.
The stay was issued Saturday (PDF) by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals “because the petitions indicate cause to believe there are substantial statutory and constitutional concerns with the mandate.” The court did not elaborate on why it imposed the stay, but the Biden administration now has until Monday at 5 p.m. ET to respond.
Seem Nanda, the Labor Department’s solicitor, said in a statement that the department was “confident” in its legal power to publish the rule and that it was prepared to defend it in court.