NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Biden administration is implementing a new emergency standard for businesses with at least 100 employees to either mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their workers or require weekly testing, the White House said Thursday.
The new mandate — called an "emergency temporary standard"— was requested by President Biden in September as part of his "Path Out of the Pandemic" COVID-19 action plan and will be implemented by the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The White House estimates the new requirement will impact more than 80 million workers in the private sector.
The emergency standard stipulates that employers must choose either full vaccination or weekly testing for their employees within 30 days. Within 60 days — by January 4, 2022 — they must implement the mandate, the White House said.
If employers do not follow the emergency standard, they could face fines up to $14,000 per employee, an administration official said.
This COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate is already facing opposition and legal challenges from 24 attorneys general who preemptively called the plan "disastrous and destructive"
The Tennessee Attorney General filed a lawsuit Thursday to challenge a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for contractors, too.
The new rule doesn't say who will bear the cost for the weekly testing option.
Some other local, state, or federal rules may require businesses to pay for tests for employees who are exempt from the vaccine mandate.