What Does the New Federal COVID Action Plan Mean for Maryland’s Counties?

On September 9, the Biden administration announced a new COVID-19 Action Plan, featuring new administrative and regulatory actions to improve vaccination rates across the country.

Of the six components to the new plan, titled, “The Path Out of the Pandemic,” at the forefront for county governments is a vaccine mandate for all federal agencies, federal contractors, and employers with 100 or more employees in the 28 states that participate in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved workplace safety and health programs.

Maryland is one of 28 states with an OSHA-approved State Plan.

State Plans are OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs operated by individual states or U.S. territories. There are currently 22 State Plans covering both private sector and state and local government workers, and there are six State Plans covering only state and local government workers. State Plans are monitored by OSHA and must be at least as effective as OSHA in protecting workers and in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) explains what the new emergency regulations will mean for counties with OSHA State Plans, including Maryland:

The Department of Labor and OSHA generally do not have regulatory authority over local governments and municipalities, however, the impending vaccination and testing regulation for employers with 100 or more employees may impact county employees who are in one of the 28 states that participate in OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs.

OSHA will soon be releasing an emergency rule on the vaccine and testing policies in-line with the new action plan. However, the timeline for the release of these regulations is not yet known. MACo will continue to report on the story as the regulations and potential impacts on county government — especially as major employers for Marylanders — become available.

 

Read the full “The Path Out of the Pandemic” report online.

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