President Biden Requires Contractor Employees Be Fully Vaccinated (or Face Regular Testing)
On July 29, 2021, President Biden announced that “to help protect workers and their communities,” all employees of federal contractors working onsite at government facilities will be asked to “attest to their vaccination status.” Those who do not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to: (1) wear a mask on the job; (2) physically distance from all other employees and visitors; (3) comply with a weekly or twice weekly testing requirement; and (4) be subject to restrictions on official travel.
Although the directive specifically applies to onsite contractors, all government contractors should take note of this development, as President Biden is instructing his team to apply these standards to “all federal contractors,” and stated that contractors wanting to do business with the federal government must “get [their] workers vaccinated.”
President Biden’s announcement comes on the heels of the CDC’s recent recommendation that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in parts of the country where the rate of transmission of COVID-19 cases is substantial or high. With vaccination rates decreasing and transmission rates of COVID-19 increasing, President Biden called on Americans to get vaccinated – if they haven’t been already – and is using the federal government’s authority over federal contractors to create conditions he hopes will encourage their workforces to get vaccinated.
In the wake of President Biden’s announcement, government contractors with onsite employees should take measures to ensure compliance with President Biden’s directive, and all government contractors should continue to monitor developments, as it appears they will soon be required to apply the same standards to all employees.