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SAM Magazine—Washington, D.C., Jan. 14, 2022—The Supreme Court issued a decision staying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mandate that employers with 100 or more employees require their workers to be vaccinated or produce a negative Covid-19 test on a weekly basis. 

"This is helpful news to ski areas, who are facing unprecedented staffing and labor challenges, in part because of fears of being subject to the vaccine-or-test rules under this OSHA ETS," said NSAA director of risk and regulatory affairs Dave Byrd. "However, the Biden Administration’s efforts to impose certain vaccination or testing requirements may be revived in a significantly limited fashion later this spring."
The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) vaccine-or-test mandate went into effect on Jan. 10, 2022, after several lower court challenges. In its Jan. 13, 2022, decision, though, the Court determined that OSHA is empowered to set “workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures,” and that Covid-19 did not qualify as a “work-related danger.”  

The Court found that although Covid-19 was a risk present in many workplaces, it is also present “everywhere else that people gather,” and as such not an occupational risk within the scope of OSHA’s regulatory authority. Vaccination, the Court stated, “cannot be undone at the end of the workday.”

The decision did allow OSHA the authority to regulate occupation-specific risks related to Covid-19. Consistent with this ruling, the Court’s decision in a second case also permitted a vaccine mandate requirement for employees of healthcare facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding to go forward.

In a recent SAM Huddle, NSAA director of risk and regulatory affairs Dave Byrd and Crystal Mountain, Mich., COO John Melcher discussed preparations for the ETS at ski areas. 
Listen to the entire Huddle, “Gut Check: Is this season going as planned?” on PodSAM.