The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued updated guidance for federal contractors on October 14, 2022, announcing that it will reevaluate enforcement of the federal contractor vaccine mandate and safety requirements issued under Executive Order 14042. This is the first pronouncement from the Task Force after it had indicated that it would not enforce the vaccine mandate without further notice in the wake of the Eleventh Circuit’s August 26, 2022 decision limiting the scope of the injunction against implementation and enforcement of the EO 14042 contractor mandate. The mandate officially narrowing the injunction was issued on October 18.
In light of the narrowed injunction, the Task Force announced that it will not enforce the vaccine mandate unless and until (i) the Task Force issues new guidance on COVID-19 safety protocols, (ii) OMB determines that guidance would promote economic and efficiency in federal contracting, and (iii) agencies issue written notice to covered contractors in accordance with OMB guidelines. The Task Force update leaves open the possibility that agencies could include the FAR clause implementing the requirements of the Executive Order in future solicitations and contracts.
In light of this announcement, federal contractors should expect that the Federal Government will not take any action to enforce the clause implementing the EO 14042 contractor mandate where it has already been included in contracts or contract-like instruments, absent further written notice from the agency.