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Federal appeals court declines to lift stay on Biden's employee vaccine mandate

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden speaks
Chip Somodevilla
Getty Images
President Joe Biden has called for vaccine requirements for workers at companies with more than 100 employees as well as workers at health care facilities that treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had granted an emergency stay of the requirement by OSHA companies with at least 100 employees require COVID vaccines by Jan. 4.

A federal appeals court has declined to lift its stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had granted an emergency stay last Saturday of the requirement by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those workers be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face mask requirements and weekly tests.

Lawyers for the Justice and Labor departments filed a response Monday. It said stopping the mandate from taking effect will only prolong the COVID-19 pandemic and “cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”

The appeals court rejected that argument Friday. Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt wrote that the stay “is firmly in the public interest.”

At least 27 states have filed legal challenges in at least six federal appeals courts after OSHA released its rules on Nov. 4. Florida filed a challenege with Georgia and Alabama in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

The federal government said in its court filings Monday that the cases should be consolidated and that one of the circuit courts where a legal challenge has been filed should be chosen at random on Nov. 16 to hear it.