Many Department of Defense contractors are puzzled over COVID requirements. They heard that courts struck down the Federal Acquisition Regulation requiring contractors to require their employees to be vaccinated and to get certifications around that. BUT….when DoD contractor employees go to a DoD facility to work they are still being required, at times, to complete forms and to follow certain COVID requirements.
HOW CAN THIS BE – I am asked.
Short Answer: Courts did nix the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that forced federal government contractors to get their employees vaccinated and then to certify to the government that they did so.
BUT… that does not mean that DoD can’t still impose requirements on contractor employees to mitigate the risks of COVID. And, DoD is doing just that – implementing COVID mitigation protocols.
Long Answer: The long answer would entail all sorts of legal analysis on the authority of courts, how agencies can act… etc. No one really wants to know that and I don’t want to write it.
BUT… what DoD contractors do need to know and what I should write about are the DoD current COVID requirements for contractors. That is what is included below.
DoD Updated Guidance
March 1, 2022, the Department of Defense updated its COVID-19 requirements for working on DoD bases or facilities in the United States. Although called an update, not much was updated, and much of DoD’s previous COVID-19 requirements remain.
Remaining in place is DoD guidance from February 2021 that permits DoD component heads to make categorical or case-by-case exceptions to mask requirements as long as the exceptions are consistent with CDC guidelines. DoD Component heads must put the exception in writing and include a description of appropriate alternative safeguards whenever feasible.
- As soon as possible, DoD sites must post signs clarifying the masking requirements for the DoD site.
- As soon as possible, DoD must post information on its websites clarifying the masking requirements for the DoD site.
- DoD contractor personnel must still complete and maintain available to show DoD personnel, if requested to do so, DD Form 3150, “Contractor and Visitor Certification of Vaccination”. Failing to complete this form may result in contractor personnel being denied access to DoD facilities.
- If working on DoD bases or facilities outside of the United States, check with the contracting officer or the facility for COVID-19 safety requirements.
- DoD site specific COVID requirements will be based on the Centers for Disease Control assessment of the COVID risk “COVID- 19 Community Level”. Essentially, the “Community Level” is high when the risk of COVID is high or there are a high number of COVID cases. CDC has provided the following requirements based on Community Level:
- High Community Level in a county where a DoD facility is located requires masks, regardless of vaccine status.
- Medium Community Level in a county where a DoD facility is located does not require indoor masks. Facilities must have a screening testing program at the facility.
- Low Community Level in a county where a DoD facility is located, indoor mask-wearing is not required. No screening or testing is required.
- Contractor employees who are not fully vaccinated for a medical reason, religious reason, or who refuse to provide their COVID-19 vaccination status must take a weekly COVID-19 screening test. Contractor employees who refuse the test, will be denied access to DoD facilities.
DoD Previous Guidance That Is Still in Effect
- DoD contractor personnel who have signs or symptoms of COVID-19 must notify their commander or supervisor and must stay home.
- DoD contractor personnel who develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 during the workday must:
- Immediately distance from other workers;
- Wear a facemask;
- Notify their commander or supervisor; and
- Promptly leave the workplace.
- DoD contractor personnel who test positive for COVID-19 must:
- Remain out of the workplace for 5 calendar days;
- Return to the workplace after 5 calendar days only if they have no symptoms or have no fever for more than 24 hours and remaining symptoms are resolving; and
- Wear a mask for 5 calendar days after returning to the workplace.
- DoD contractor personnel with potential exposure to COVID-19 based on close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 must:
- Remain out of the office for 5 calendar days if asymptomatic and unvaccinated or if asymptomatic and did not receive a recommended COVID-19 booster. There are exceptions in cases of mission-essentialactivities that must be conducted on site.
- Wear a mask for 10 calendar days following the exposure even if asymptomatic and even if fully vaccinated.
Bottom Line for Contractors:
- Contractor employees may be required to provide DD Form 3150, Contractor and Visitor Certification of Vaccination
- Contractors should still follow your own COVID requirements which can include identifying employees who are not fully vaccinated for a medical reason, a religious reason, or who refuse to provide their COVID-19 vaccination status know and alert them that they must take a weekly COVID-19 screening test before going to a DoD facility.
- Contractors should find out what health protections are required at the DoD installation or facility where your employees are working and let your employees know.
- Contractors should check the CDC Community Level for the county where the DoD installation or facility is to determine requirements.