As expected, late on November 10 the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force revised its government contractor vaccine mandate Guidance to extend the deadline for covered contractor employees to get vaccinated. This revision follows the White House announcement on November 4 that the deadline for implementation of the federal government contractor mandate would be synchronized with the CMS rule and the currently-stayed OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, requiring that employees under all three regimes receive their last vaccine dose by January 4, 2022. Instead of using the date by which employees had to received their last vaccine dose, January 4, the Guidance has been revised to now say that covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022 rather than the original December 8, 2021. As a reminder, fully vaccinated means an individual must have received the last vaccine dose two weeks prior.
In addition, the Q&A that previously appeared at the end of the September 24 Guidance has been removed and replaced with two references to the Task Force’s website:
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions regarding this Guidance can be found here: https://www.saferfederalworkforce.gov/faq/contractors/
All Task Force Guidance, FAQs, and additional information for Federal contractors and subcontractors can be found here: https://www.saferfederalworkforce.gov/contractors
It is not clear whether any other changes were made to the Guidance because the changes were not made in redline.
There were also updates to the two Q&As and a new Q&A was included. It appears that the updates simply changed the fully vaccinated dates from December 8 to January 18, 2022, but because there is no redline that is no clear. The new Q&A, which is copied below, helpfully provides sample signage for areas of high or substantial levels of community transmission and areas of low or moderate levels of community transmission:
NEW Q: Is there sample signage that a covered contractor can post at entrances to covered contractor workplaces providing information on safety protocols?
A: Yes. Covered contractors should post signage at entrances to covered contractor workplaces providing information on safety protocols for fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated individuals and instruct individuals to follow the appropriate workplace safety protocols while at the covered contractor workplace. Sample signage for areas of high or substantial levels of community transmission can be found here. Sample signage for areas of low or moderate levels of community transmission can be found here.
Given that many contractors have found it challenging to ensure their signage is appropriate for the level of transmission in their area, this new information will likely be well received.
Finally, for those that are following the multiple court challenges to the contractor vaccine mandate, it appears that the case filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky by Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, will be first to have a hearing on the states’ motion for a preliminary injunction. On November 10, that court scheduled a hearing on the motion for November 18.