Earlier this month, President Biden issued a new Executive Order that, among other things, required federal contractors and subcontractors to begin ensuring that their employees are fully vaccinated. Details were initially fuzzy, but the administration’s COVID-19 taskforce has now issued new Guidance clarifying much of what was previously unclear.
We now know that all future service contracts between contractors and the federal government that are entered into on or after October 15, 2021 will include a clause requiring that the contractor’s employees be fully vaccinated by December 8 (or, by the date on which the contractor is scheduled to begin performing the contract, whichever comes later). Any federal subcontracts for the provision of services must include such a mandatory vaccination clause as well. Note that these requirements only pertain to federal service contracts; supply contracts that solely involve the provision of goods to a federal entity are beyond the scope of these new rules.
Prior to this December 8 deadline, all covered federal contractors and subcontractors must obtain proof of their employees’ fully vaccinated status, except in those limited circumstances in which the employee has a valid medical or religious exemption. Additionally, federal contractors and subcontractors must begin requiring employees and visitors to comply with CDC guidance regarding mask-wearing and physical distancing. At the moment, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals in counties with a high or substantial rate of transmission (which, as of today, includes every county in Ohio and nearly 98% of counties nationwide) wear masks while indoors, except when they are eating or working alone in an enclosed office. For those who are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated, the CDC currently recommends that they wear masks in all indoor settings regardless of their county’s rate of transmission as well as in any crowded outdoor settings. The CDC also suggests that such individuals maintain at least six feet of social distancing at all times, to the extent practicable.
We will continue to keep you updated regarding any further developments. In the meantime, feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about implementing these changes. Your workforce is our priority.