In a Tuesday announcement, the Biden administration recommended requiring weekly COVID-19 testing for federal employees who work on-site or interact with the public by Feb. 15, according to Reuters reports.
The president mandated vaccinations for 3.5 million federal employees in September, and they had to be vaccinated fully by Nov. 22 or face discipline or termination.
On Tuesday, the administration declared that employees who are not vaccinated – including those who claim religious or medical exemptions – “should be tested weekly for any week during which they work on-site or interact in person with members of the public as part of their job duties. Agencies may require more frequent testing.”
Federal workers who work remotely are exempt from these rules.
According to the US government, 97.2 percent of its employees got at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Dec. 8.
Federal agencies were encouraged last month by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) not to discipline most employees who had not complied in January with anything other than education and counseling. An OMB representative did not respond to a request for comment on how many US employees were disciplined for not following the rules.
Federal employees in the judicial and legislative branches, as well as US Postal Service workers, are not covered by Biden’s vaccine mandate.
As a company with 100 or more employees, USPS is covered by vaccine or testing requirements but has requested an extension.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced that federal agencies can discipline workers who refuse to take drug tests and may also bar them from agency workplaces until any discipline is resolved.