The Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers is officially being scrapped Wednesday, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The federal workplace safety agency’s mandate has been forcing businesses with at least 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing for their workers.
While OSHA said it had made the decision to remove the mandate, the agency was not withdrawing the vaccine-or-test option as a “proposed rule.”
“OSHA strongly encourages vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace,” a statement from the agency said.
OSHA’s decision to remove the order — which has affected more than 80 million people — came just two weeks after the regulation was shot down by the US Supreme Court on Jan. 13.
In a major blow to the Biden administration, the court’s conservative majority ruled that OSHA had overstepped its authority by enforcing the vaccine-or-test mandate.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate
occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the court said.
“Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
The controversial order was first introduced by President Biden in November as the White House pushed for increased vaccinations.
Critics, including former President Donald Trump, had slammed the mandate as “unconstitutional” and argued OSHA was overstepping its power.
In the wake of the SCOTUS ruling, Biden said he was “disappointed” in the decision to “block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law.”