WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday blocked a Biden administration requirement that large employers either mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees or require weekly testing.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued the mandate in November. It would have applied to employers with more than 100 employees, impacting about 84 million people. Employees at those businesses would have been required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask and submit to weekly testing.
The court upheld 5-4 a similar requirement that workers at health care facilities receiving federal funds — those participating in Medicaid or Medicare — be vaccinated. That ruling impacts about 17 million workers.
The Biden administration argued the mandates would save lives and prevent hospitalizations.
The ruling comes as COVID-19 cases are spiking in the U.S. The country reported 860,114 new cases Jan. 12.
In recent weeks, industry groups published guidance on how to comply with the mandate, which OSHA planned to begin enforcing next month.
The Tire Industry Association and U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association declined to comment on the ruling.