• Cedar Park Chamber Releases Statement on Department of Labor's Emergency Temporary Standard

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    November 10, 2021
    The Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce has been working with partner organizations around the State of Texas with the release of the Department of Labor’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires businesses with at least 100 employees to ensure vaccination of their workers, or for those workers who are unvaccinated, masking policies and weekly testing. The Chamber’s statement is below.

    From OSHA | To assess the ongoing need for an Emergency Temporary Standard for healthcare and related industries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reviewed the latest guidance, science and data on COVID-19 and has consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) (NIOSH)). OSHA has determined that the requirements of the healthcare ETS released on June 10, 2021, remain necessary to address the grave danger of COVID-19 in healthcare. OSHA will continue to monitor and assess the need for changes in the healthcare ETS each month.

    The Biden Administration’s OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which mandates private businesses of 100 employees or more to require their employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, was communicated last week. Details include fines of up to $13,650 per violation and come after the original ETS was issued on September 9th.

    As we communicated last month with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-40, the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce opposes preventing employers from enacting thoughtful workplace health and safety measures. We oppose both the mandate from the Federal Government requiring this of employers, and we oppose the executive order from the State Government not allowing employers to make those decisions themselves.

    The Cedar Park Chamber will continue to follow these details closely as they continue to develop. The Emergency Temporary Standard and the Executive Order are in conflict with each other and make this situation extremely difficult for businesses to be able to make those safe decisions without fear of fines from either levels of government.

    The Biden Administration detailed in their rollout of these new standards that these supersede any state mandates or orders. Here are some key takeaways:
    • Businesses with at least 100 employees must ensure their workers are vaccinated by January 4, 2022.
    • At the employer’s discretion, employees can avoid being vaccinated by submitting a weekly negative test for COVID-19 and wearing a mask in the workplace.
    • Unvaccinated employees are required to wear a mask in the workplace starting on December 5, 2021.
    • Businesses that do not comply with the requirements could face fines in excess of $13,000 per violation.
    • This ETS will remain in place for six months.
    Again, the Cedar Park Chamber advocates for the rights of individual businesses to continue to make the best decisions for their employees and business. If a business believes a vaccine is best for their business, then they should have the right to make that choice just as those businesses that do not feel a vaccine is needed for their business should have the freedom to choose that path. We recognize medical and religious exemptions are necessary for any vaccine protocols. We oppose “personal conscience” exemptions as it is not clearly defined by state or federal law and opens businesses up to frivolous lawsuits.

    We respectfully call on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to rescind this Emergency Temporary Standard as this may harm our business community.  To learn more about the OSHA ETS for COVID-19, CLICK HERE.
    Approved by Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Council and Executive Committee on November 9, 2021