Businesses told to move forward despite freeze

The White House on Monday urged businesses to move forward with implementing rules for coronavirus vaccines after a federal court stayed President Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for private companies.

“We think people should not wait,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday. “We say, do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. It is important and critical to do and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness.”

“We’re trying to get past this pandemic, and we know the way to do that is to get people vaccinated,” Jean-Pierre added.

The Biden administration maintains that it is on firm legal footing after a federal appeals court in New Orleans on Saturday temporarily blocked the rule, which was developed by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“The administration clearly has the authority to protect workers, and actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Jean-Pierre said Monday, noting that the Justice Department would be defending the rule in court.

Background: The three-judge panel on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited “grave statutory and constitutional issues” with Biden’s rule in issuing the stay on Saturday. All three judges on the panel were appointed by Republican presidents.