As we previously blogged, the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandates for large employers and health care workers have faced several legal challenges in the previous weeks. The uncertainty surrounding these mandates has put employers in a difficult spot. Luckily, the Supreme Court has scheduled an emergency oral argument for January 7, 2022 to address the Biden Administration’s mandates. However, while the Supreme Court will be issuing a decision, it’s scope will be limited. The Court will only be deciding whether to permanently halt the mandates while the legal challenges to the mandates play out in the lower courts. As such, the Supreme Court will not be issuing the final word on these mandates (for now).
In related news, the CDC announced this week that the recommended isolation period for people with COVID who are asymptomatic has been reduced from 10 days to 5 days. The reason, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, is directly related to employment: “The reason is that now that we have such an overwhelming volume of cases coming in, many of which are without symptoms, there’s the danger that this is going to have a really negative impact on our ability to really get society to function properly…The CDC made a decision to balance what’s good for public health at the same time as keeping the society running.” While these new guidelines allow for employees to return to work after 5 days of isolation, employers should ensure that returning employees continue to wear a mask and socially distance themselves from their coworkers to the greatest extent possible. And of course, symptomatic employees should continue to quarantine for the full 10 days, as this new guidance only applies to asymptomatic carriers.