With the end of 2021 in sight, Monty & Ramirez LLP brings you the most recent changes and updates surrounding COVID-19 compliance so you can be ready for 2022.
CDC Shortens Isolation/Quarantine Period
Based on information learned from the Omicron variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend that people (regardless of vaccination status) who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate at home for 5 days (instead of 10) and, if asymptomatic at that time, may discontinue isolation and continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
Additionally, the CDC shortened the quarantine period for exposed persons depending on their vaccination status. People who are exposed to COVID-19 and (1) have received a booster shot or (2) have recently become fully vaccinated (i.e., received both doses of Pfizer/Moderna within 6 months or 1 dose of J&J within 2 months) do not have to quarantine. For all others, if they are exposed, they should quarantine at home for 5 days. After 5 days, the person may discontinue quarantine, but should wear a mask around others for 5 additional days, and get tested, if possible.
For additional information, review the CDC announcement here.
Update on the OSHA COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
Currently, OSHA's emergency temporary standard (ETS) covering COVID-19 vaccinations will be challenged in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. While the Court has not stayed (banned) the ETS from being enforced while the related litigation is pending, the Court will hear oral arguments from ETS challengers and OSHA on January 7, 2022. We should expect a decision from the Court soon after.
In the meantime, OSHA announced that it will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10th and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the ETS’ testing requirements before February 9th, “so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts” to comply with the ETS.
By January 10th, pending a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, employers are expected to establish a policy outlining:
- How they will collect and retain vaccination status and records;
- Paid time off and sick leave allotment;
- Notice requirements for COVID-19 positive cases and removal of COVID-19 positive employees from workplace;
- Information required to be provided to employees;
- Disciplinary action for employees who do not follow the vaccination policy; and
- If choosing testing option, policy must specify how testing will be conducted and how employees should provide test results.
Additionally, by January 10th, employers would need to:
- Determine vaccination status of all employees and obtain acceptable proof of vaccination;
- Maintain a roster of each employee’s vaccination status; and
- Require masking of employees who are not fully vaccinated.
We expect the ETS and related lawsuits to raise many questions for private employers. Let the experienced attorneys at Monty & Ramirez help you navigate through this process.
Questions? Please feel free to contact Monty & Ramirez LLP