New OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard: Vaccinations, Testing and Face Coverings

On November 6, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an emergency stay with regard to the OSHA ETS on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing. While the fate of the OSHA ETS is unclear, employers should prepare now as if the ETS will go into effect. OSHA’s new emergency temporary standard requires employers with 100 or more employees to develop and implement a policy requiring that employees either become fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear a face covering at work. Employers should promptly determine whether they are covered by the ETS. Covered employers should begin preparing a written policy and develop their approach for determining and documenting employee vaccination status.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions to Be Lifted for Certain Vaccinated Foreign National Travelers

On October 25, 2021, the Biden administration announced additional details on changes to the COVID-19 travel restrictions currently in place. Beginning November 8, 2021, the COVID-19-related regional restrictions on travel by foreign nationals to the United States will be replaced with a vaccine-based system. All nonimmigrants traveling by air to the United States will be required to show an acceptable COVID-19 vaccination and negative COVID-19 test―with certain exceptions based, for example, on age or on medical or humanitarian reasons.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Philadelphia Provides Additional Time for Healthcare and Higher Education Institutions to Comply with Vaccine Mandate

On October 6, 2021, Philadelphia’s Department of Health announced extensions to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which applies to covered healthcare personnel and covered higher education individuals. Originally set to go into effect October 15, 2021, Philadelphia has stretched out and staggered the deadlines to provide healthcare institutions, colleges and universities additional time in which to comply.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Expires – Now What?

California’s latest supplemental paid sick leave law, SB 95, which requires certain employers to provide paid leave to employees for qualifying COVID-19-related reasons, expires on September 30, 2021. No legislation has been passed to extend it and there are no bills on the horizon to replace it. This has left employers wondering what, if any, obligations they have if employees are absent for reasons related to COVID-19.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Florida Judge Rules Governor Did Not Have Authority to Ban School Mask Mandates

Just before the start of the 2021 school year, with COVID-19 rates in Florida rapidly rising, several Florida school boards implemented mask mandates in their school districts. In response, on July 30, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 21-175, which banned mask mandates in schools, declaring that it should be parents—not the government—who decide whether their children are required to wear masks in school.

On August 6, 2021, a group of parents claiming that their children were adversely affected by the governor’s blanket ban on mask mandates in Florida schools filed a lawsuit against the governor, challenging the constitutionality of the ban. On August 27, 2021, following a four-day virtual trial, Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled from the bench that the ban was unlawful, reasoning that DeSantis overreached his authority, misinterpreted state law and disregarded the nation’s best scientific and medical opinions.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

OSHA Updates COVID-19 Guidance for Masking and Testing of Vaccinated Workers and Further Encourages Vaccination

OSHA recently updated its Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace for employers in nonhealthcare settings. The updated OSHA guidance tracks the CDC’s July 27, 2021, recommendations, based upon the increased spread of the delta variant and new evidence that vaccinated persons can spread COVID-19. The updated OSHA guidance, together with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s August 23, 2021, approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine, may lead to increased worker vaccination mandates.

The updated guidance now provides for vaccinated workers to mask in public areas in all workplaces located in counties with substantial or high COVID-19 community transmission.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

COVID-19 Vaccine Approval Further Opens Door for Employer Mandates

On August 23, the FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals age 16 and older. Some employees who expressed vaccine hesitancy because the FDA approval was only an emergency use authorization (EUA) may have less hesitancy now. This may be a good time, through employee education, to once again encourage your employees to get vaccinated.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Supreme Court Denies Student Request to Block University Vaccine Mandate

On August 12, the Supreme Court of the United States denied eight students’ request to block Indiana University’s requirement that students be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The students’ case, Klaassen v. Trustees of Indiana University, is the first test of a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in the context of an educational institution to arrive at the Supreme Court.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

CDC Now Recommends Vaccinated People Wear Masks in Public, Indoor Settings in Areas of Substantial or High COVID-19 Transmission

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People and scaled back the relaxed masking guidelines for vaccinated individuals that it issued in May 2021.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.