On November 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its much-anticipated mandate-or-test workplace vaccine emergency rule (“the Rule”).  The Rule requires employers with 100 or more employees to either mandate covered employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or require covered employees that are not fully vaccinated to test for COVID-19 at least weekly and wear a face covering.  The Rule went into effect immediately on November 5 with employers expected to comply by no later than January 4, but implementation has since been halted due to pending legal challenges.  For more information of the Rule requirements and specifics, see our prior article It’s Here: OSHA’s Rule Mandating COVID Vaccinations or Weekly Testing for Employers.

Continue Reading Challenged – OSHA’s Rule Mandating COVID Vaccinations or Weekly Testing for Employers Halted

On October 25, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) expanded its prior guidance “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” to include recommendations for employers who receive religious objections from employees in response to the employer’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.  Specifically, the EEOC added section L to its prior guidance, which addresses specific questions relating to religious objections.  The newly added questions are set forth below.  All employers should review and familiarize themselves with this guidance as they continue to face objections and accommodation requests from employees with respect to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Continue Reading EEOC Publishes New Guidance Regarding Objections to COVID-19 Vaccines Based Upon Employee Religious Beliefs

The much-anticipated vaccine rule is here.  On November 4, 2021, and in response to President Biden’s Executive Order, the Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Commission, issued the Emergency Temporary Standard (“the Rule”), requiring mandatory vaccination or weekly COVID testing for many U.S. employers.  The Rule is effective immediately.

Continue Reading It’s Here: OSHA’s Rule Mandating COVID Vaccinations or Weekly Testing for Employers

Prior COVID-19 Travel Bans Repealed as of November 8, 2021

On October 25, 2021, President Biden announced the suspension of the COVID-19 travel bans from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  Previously, a National Interest Exception waiver was required.  With this new Proclamation, the White House announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national air travelers and authorized the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide specific regulations.  The White House announcement can be found here.


Continue Reading Sheppard Mullin Travel Checklist ‒ New Vaccination Travel Restrictions for Entry Into the United States: Air and Land Rules Effective November 8, 2021

In a move sure to generate controversy, confusion, and litigation, on October 11, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order effectively prohibiting all private businesses from requiring employees or customers be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Continue Reading COVID Confusion: Texas Governor Issues Executive Order Effectively Banning Vaccine Mandates

On September 9, 2021, the White House released a memorandum titled “Path Out of the Pandemic,” which detailed President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan.  The memorandum contains six priorities for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, including a requirement that all employers with 100 or more employees must implement a vaccine mandate and/or require weekly testing of unvaccinated workers.

Continue Reading President Biden and OSHA to Require Vaccine Mandate or Weekly Testing for Employers with 100+ Employees

On September 6, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that COVID-19 has been designated as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”). At the time of the publication of this article, the Commissioner of Health’s designation is only effective until September 30, 2021. On September 30, the Commissioner will review the level of COVID-19 transmission in the state and make a further determination.

Continue Reading NY HERO Act Plans Must Be Activated as COVID-19 Designated a Highly Contagious Communicable Disease

The American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) requires the full cost of COBRA premiums to be subsidized for COBRA continuation coverage during the period from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 (“Subsidy Period”) of certain assistance-eligible individuals (“AEI“) whose COBRA qualifying event was due to an involuntary termination or reduction in hours. Our prior blog post, COBRA Premium Assistance Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What Employers Should Know, provides information about the ARPA COBRA subsidy and associated notice requirements. ARPA also required employers to comply with certain notice obligations, first at the outset of the Subsidy Period to make the AEIs aware of the subsidy, and now to inform AEIs that the subsidy is nearing expiration through what is known as the Notice of Expiration of Period of Premium Assistance (“Expiration Notice”).

Continue Reading Reminder: ARPA COBRA Subsidy Expiration Notice Due by September 15

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) published an order strengthening the COVID-19 safety requirements applicable to many business establishments and event spaces in the City and County of San Francisco (the “Order”).  As outlined below, the Order requires significant new vaccine mandates for San Francisco businesses operating (1) Indoor Food and Drink and Fitness Facilities; (2) Large Outdoor and Indoor Events; and (3) High Risk Care or Living Settings and Other Health Care Facilities.

Continue Reading San Francisco Mandates Proof of Full Vaccination for Entry Into Many Establishments

On August 3, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the “Key to NYC” program (“Key to NYC” or the “Program”), which implemented new mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for employees and patrons of certain indoor establishments in New York City.  Effective August 17, 2021, business entities covered under Key to NYC must require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for employees, patrons and most other individuals entering the premises, with certain limited exceptions (outlined below).  On August 17, 2021 (the Program’s effective date), the City simultaneously released new guidance and Frequently Asked Questions regarding how covered businesses may comply with Key to NYC, which are summarized below.  Because enforcement of the Program begins on September 13, 2021, New York employers covered by the Program should be aware of its implications and take necessary steps towards compliance.

Continue Reading Picking Up the “Key to NYC”: New Vaccination Regulations Now Effective for New York City Employers