PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Starting Wednesday, Jan. 26, employees at large businesses will no longer be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or test regularly.
"This mandate was causing some real potential disruptions in terms of people leaving," said Gene Barr, the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.
The decision comes after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's mandate that ordered businesses with more than 100 employees to require their workers to get vaccinated or test weekly. The court's ruling stated the administration overstepped its authority by trying to force the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules on employees.
The new ruling gives businesses a choice.
"Having that pulled back gives [companies] a little bit of ease, regardless of whether they are requiring vaccines," said Barr. "And a lot of them are making the decision on what's best of their workplace and employees."
However, as cases of COVID-19 increase statewide, union representatives said more employees are willing to take the vaccines.
"For most workers, they understand it's been a long time coming, lets make these workplaces as safe as possible," said Steve Catanese, the president of the SEIU Local 668 union.
In a statement released on Jan. 25th, OSHA said:
"The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is withdrawing the vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard issued on Nov. 5, 2021, to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers with 100 or more employees from workplace exposure to coronavirus. The withdrawal is effective January 26, 2022.
Although OSHA is withdrawing the vaccination and testing ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, the agency is not withdrawing the ETS as a proposed rule. The agency is prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard.
OSHA strongly encourages vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace."
The Supreme Court said the White House could add mandates in the future, but the Biden administration said there's no plans to do so.