In a short related notice, GSA announced on SAM.gov that CDC guidelines for The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has updated COVID-19 safety guidance (https://go.usa.gov/xhcu4).  New guidance states that federal contractors are not required to mandate vaccinations for employees working onsite on federal contracts. It further states that federal agencies must cease requesting for vaccination status from both onsite contractor employees and visitors effectively immediate, but not later than 22 August 2022.

The GSA stopped enforcing the vaccine mandate in with the release of solicitation refresh #11 in April following several pending court cases and injunctions. The vaccination status was made mandatory through Executive Order 14042 signed September 2021.

Agencies should refer to the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force “Overview of Federal COVID-19 Safety Protocols by COVID-19 Community Level” for a brief reference table on when and what protocols must be enforced (included below for convenience, link to guidance here):

 When COVID-19 Community Level is: 
Federal Facility COVID-19 Safety ProtocolsLOWMEDIUMHIGHChange from prior Task Force guidance?
Federal employee vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043No implementation or enforcement given a nationwide injunction  ->No implementation or enforcement given a nationwide injunction  ->No implementation or enforcement given a nationwide injunction ->NO
To be consistent with Task Force guidance, agencies would need to require documentation of vaccination status from employees, and ask about the vaccination status of onsite contractor employees and visitors.Pause, given that COVID-19 safety protocols do not vary by vaccination status at this time2Pause, given that COVID-19 safety protocols do not vary by vaccination status at this time2Pause, given that COVID-19 safety protocols do not vary by vaccination status at this time2YES
Agencies must require all individuals to wear a high- quality mask regardless of vaccination status.3NO4
(mask-wearing optional)
NO4
(mask-wearing optional)
YESYES
To be consistent with Task Force guidance, agencies would need to post signage encouraging individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to consider physically distancing themselves from others and avoiding crowding in indoor common areas, meeting rooms, and high-risk settings in Federal facilities.5NOYESYESYES
To be consistent with Task Force guidance, agencies would need to make and maintain improvements to indoor ventilation and air filtration to the maximum extent feasible.YESYESYESNO
Where agencies have established serial screening testing programs and/or point-in-time screening testing requirements for certain agency-identified high-risk settings,6 screening testing must be implemented for individuals enrolled in the program or subject to the requirement, regardless of vaccination status.NOYESYESYES
To be consistent with Task Force guidance, agencies would need to require symptom screening self-checks for all individuals prior to entry to Federal facilities.YESYESYESNO
Agencies must instruct all individuals known to be exposed to COVID-19 to wear a high-quality mask or respirator (such as an N95), take other post-exposure precautions, and watch for symptoms for 10 full days after exposure, consistent with CDC guidance— instead of at-home quarantine and regardless of vaccination status. Agencies must require individuals exposed to COVID-19 be tested at least 5 full days (ideally, on or after day 6) after their last exposure.YESYESYESYES
Agencies must instruct all individuals with probable or confirmed COVID-19 to follow agency isolation protocols and take other precautions consistent with CDC guidance.YESYESYESNO

Though not currently announced, all GSA contractors should anticipate a solicitation refresh coming soon.

Coley GCS regularly provides consulting services to aspiring and existing GSA Schedule holders and help navigate through the various updates and contract modifications. If you have any questions about this new guidance, and how it impacts your GSA Schedule, please contact us by email at hello@coleygsa.com, directly by phone at 210-402-6766 or schedule some time convenient for you.

 

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2 Agencies with employee COVID-19 vaccination requirements unrelated to EO 14043 and pursuant to other authorities can continue to require documentation of proof of vaccination from employees subject to those requirements, as can agencies with other setting-specific dependencies on collecting vaccination information from employees in those settings, in consultation with the Task Force, the agency’s General Counsel, and the agency’s Senior Agency Official for Privacy.

3See also: Updated Implementation Guidance on COVID-19 Community Levels | Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, Updated August 17, 2022

4 Agencies may need to require individuals to wear masks in certain Federal facilities or workplaces, or otherwise when Federal employees are on duty in certain settings, to be consistent with CDC guidance and other regulations.

5 For the purposes of this guidance, high-risk settings include certain Federal facilities—or certain specific settings within Federal facilities— where (1) COVID-19 transmission risk is high, and (2) the population present onsite is at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 or there is limited access to healthcare.

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