President Biden recently unveiled a comprehensive six-pronged national strategy, Path out of the Pandemic, to combat COVID-19.
The links above will take you to each page for details. Below are industry-specific notes.
*Employers with 100+ Employees will be required to Ensure their Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement.
*COVID-19 Vaccinations will be required for Over 17 Million HealthCare Workers at Medicare and Medicaid Participating Hospitals and other Health Care Settings
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies. This action builds on the vaccination requirement for nursing facilities recently announced by CMS, and will apply to nursing home staff as well as staff in hospitals and other CMS-regulated settings, including clinical staff, individuals providing services under arrangements, volunteers, and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident, or client care. These requirements will apply to approximately 50,000 providers and cover a majority of health care workers across the country. Some facilities and states have begun to adopt hospital staff or health care sector vaccination mandates.
*Employers will be Required Provide Paid Time Off to Get Vaccinated
To continue efforts to ensure that no worker loses a dollar of pay because they get vaccinated, OSHA is developing a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they are under the weather post-vaccination. This requirement will be implemented through the ETS.
*Increasing Support for COVID-Burdened Hospitals
The President’s plan will provide additional support for hospitals facing capacity issues. The Department of Defense is announcing a commitment to double the number of DOD teams of clinicians deployed to support hospitals battling a surge in COVID-19 cases. These clinicians will be available for mission assignment through FEMA’s response across surge states. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs have opened up over 150 hospital beds in Veterans Affairs’ facilities across surge states in order to reduce the burden on local hospitals.
*Strengthening the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The President’s plan will help more than 150,000 small businesses by strengthening the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides long-term, low-cost loans. The improvements will allow more business to get greater and more flexible support from the $150 billion in loanable funds still available in the program.
First, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will increase the maximum amount of funding a small business can borrow through this program from $500,000 to $2 million, which can be used to hire and retain employees, purchase inventory and equipment, and pay off higher-interest debt.
Next, SBA will make it easier for small businesses with multiple locations in hard-hit sectors like restaurants, hotels, and gyms to access these loans. To ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to support businesses that truly need help, SBA has implemented tightened controls and will collaborate closely with the SBA Inspector General to monitor the program.
And lastly, to ensure that Main Street businesses have additional time to access remaining funds, SBA will offer a 30-day exclusive window of access where only small businesses seeking loans of $500,000 or less will receive awards after the new improved loan product launches.
For more on President Biden’s COVID-19 Action plan go here.