The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to block the White House’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirement for large private businesses but allowed the Biden administration to implement a vaccine mandate for over 10 million health care workers whose facilities take part in Medicare and Medicaid programs, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The private employer rules issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in November required that workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
A mask wearing requirement for unvaccinated employees in the workplace was scheduled to take effect this week as part of the rules, which would have applied to approximately 84 million workers across the country.
“The Act empowers the Secretary [of labor] to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures,” the high court said.
In a written statement, President Joe Biden said the Supreme Court’s decision to permit the vaccine mandate for health care personnel “will save lives.”
The president, however, was disappointed with the high court’s move to reject the vaccine-or-testing rules, which he said “were common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law.” He also urged states and employers to join others that have stepped up and “institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities.”