ARLINGTON, Va. – Retail groups applauded a court ruling blocking enforcement of the Biden Administration’s mandate that employers require workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19, or adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
The National Retail Federation and FMI – The Food Industry Association lauded the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to issued a stay on the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 vaccination and testing, blocking enforcement of the mandate.
“FMI is pleased the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on OSHA’s ETS for vaccination and testing,” FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a statement. “In pausing the ETS, the Court’s action today gives us additional time to seek clarity on elements of concern, including the availability of sufficient testing capacity and exemptions for workers with limited contact with others, such as truck drivers and warehouse workers.
“FMI remains concerned with the potentially harmful impact the ETS will have on American consumers and the food supply chain if implemented, as written, during the busiest grocery shopping season of the year. FMI remains committed to working with OSHA to encourage and facilitate vaccinations, continue protecting consumers and our workers, and ensure U.S. supply chains remain up and running.”
NRF also issued a statement supporting the court’s ruling:
“We are pleased with the decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals preventing the Biden administration from doing anything to enforce the OSHA ETS unless and until an appeal is made and another court says otherwise. This is a nationwide injunction, and the court agrees that this is neither a workplace hazard nor an emergency.
“In addition to convening and preparing our members over the past several months for this impending mandate, NRF also took necessary legal action to protect our members from the practical challenges of implementing this ETS during the holiday season.
“The companies seeking a stay in this case contend that they would have been irreparably harmed in the absence of a stay, whether by financial impacts, the loss of suspended employees during this highly competitive labor market, compliance and monitoring costs associated with the mandate, the diversion of resources, or by OSHA’s plan to impose stiff financial penalties on companies that refuse to punish or test unwilling employees.
“The court recognizes that the ETS presents an incredible and unprecedented burden on millions of businesses across the country. They acknowledge the tragic loss of life and the seriousness of COVID-19, but that transmission is not inherently a workplace issue.
“We will continue our efforts to ensure that businesses, their employees, the consumers they serve and the communities where they operate are not unduly burdened and disadvantaged by well-intentioned yet misguided policy and regulations that sound good in concept but have no basis of fact as to the reality of how we move beyond the pandemic.”