Here’s a summary of this week’s developments related to federal actions addressing COVID-19:
The U.S. government will require private health insurers to reimburse customers for the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests, while issuing new testing requirements for international travelers.
OSHA has extended the comment period for the COVID-19 vaccinate-or-test emergency temporary standard (ETS).
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is still considering legal challenges to the ETS, which applies to employers with 100 or more employees. (OSHA has suspended ETS implementation and enforcement.)
There’s no indication when, or if, the ETS will take effect, according to OMA Connections Partner Benesch. HR experts say the Sixth Circuit’s briefing schedule will likely result in the ETS remaining blocked until at least Friday, Dec. 10. (It’s also possible the stay could be lifted before Dec. 10.)
Meanwhile, another court has temporarily blocked the federal contractor vaccine mandate in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. OMA Connections Partner Vorys says businesses should assess on a case-by-case basis whether their covered contracts are still subject to the vaccine requirement.
A federal judge has also temporarily blocked the federal mandate that all health care workers be vaccinated, OMA Connections Partner Dinsmore reports.
OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward notes that this week’s court injunctions don’t prohibit employers from going forward with voluntary vaccination-related programs (if the programs comply with any applicable state and local laws). 12/3/2021