End to the Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate
The Biden Administration officially ended all COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal contractors established under Executive Order (EO) 14042. On May 9, 2023, President Biden issued an Executive Order formally revoking EO 14042 (and EO 14043, pertaining to Federal employees), effective 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 12, 2023, which coincides with the end of the COVID public health emergency.
The mandates under EO 14042, issued in September 2021, required contractors to implement COVID-19 safety protocols, including (1) vaccination requirements on certain employees, (2) masking and physical distancing requirements, and (3) the designation of a COVID-19 workplace safety coordinator. Multiple lawsuits had prevented the implementation and enforcement of the mandates indefinitely, creating uncertainty for federal contractors regarding their internal policies. The new Executive Order is finally putting an end to this uncertainty as it effectively rescinds any remaining policies under EO 14042 and instructs all agencies to stop enforcing such policies. Federal contractors are now free to make their own decisions about whether to continue any COVID-19 safety protocols that were implemented under EO 14042.