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Protecting the Federal Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) was established by Section 4 of Executive Order 13991 on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, of January 20, 2021. The Task Force is co-chaired by the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, the Administrator of General Services, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Task Force members include: the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Director of the Federal Protective Service, the Director of the U.S. Secret Service, the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

The President created the Task Force to give the heads of Federal agencies ongoing guidance to keep their employees safe and their agencies operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following resources include Executive Orders, key guidance from documents issued by the Task Force, and key guidance from OMB, CDC, OPM, and the General Services Administration (GSA) related to the Task Force’s mission. Further guidance from the Task Force can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of this website. Agencies should refer to the What’s New? page to review new and updated FAQs and guidance from the Task Force that support agencies in implementing CDC guidance and recommendations.

  • Read the President’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing (Signed January 20, 2021). It establishes the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and requires on-duty Federal employees, as well as anyone working in or visiting Federal buildings or Federal lands, to wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.
  • Read the Model Agency COVID-19 Safety Principles (Updated September 15, 2022; PDF, Download Adobe Reader). It outlines model safety principles for executive departments and agencies to revise their existing COVID-19 workplace safety plans.
    • NOTE: Agencies should refer to the What’s New? page to review new and updated FAQs and guidance from the Task Force that support agencies in implementing CDC guidance updated since the publication of these model safety principles, pursuant to Executive Order 13991. Where the model safety principles and more recently updated FAQs or guidance conflict as they relate to specific workplace safety protocols, the information in the FAQs should be followed.
    • Read implementation guidance on updates to Federal agency COVID-19 Workplace Safety Protocols (Issued August 17, 2022; PDF, Download Adobe Reader)
    • Read implementation guidance on COVID-19 Community Levels (Updated August 17, 2022; Originally Issued February 28, 2022; PDF, Download Adobe Reader)
  • Read the President’s Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees (Signed September 9, 2021). It requires COVID-19 vaccination for Federal executive branch employees.
    • NOTE: To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the Federal Government will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance on other Federal agency safety protocols remains in effect. For answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on compliance with the applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, see this guidance (Updated August 17, 2022; Originally Issued January 24, 2022; PDF, Download Adobe Reader).
  • Read the President’s Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (Signed September 9, 2021). It ensures that the parties that contract with the Federal Government provide adequate COVID-19 safeguards to their workers performing on or in connection with a Federal Government contract or contract-like instrument.
    • NOTE (October 19, 2022): Consistent with the October 14, 2022 notification from the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”), OMB has issued guidance to agencies concerning the implementation of Executive Order 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (Sept. 9, 2021). Despite the lifting of the nationwide bar to enforcement on October 18, 2022, at this time agencies should not: (1) take any steps to require covered contractors and subcontractors to come into compliance with previously issued Task Force guidance; or (2) enforce any contract clauses implementing Executive Order 14042. To allow time to develop advice and processes for meeting agencies’ obligations under Executive Order 14042 and applicable court orders, agencies should follow the instructions provided in the OMB guidance here.
    • NOTE (October 14, 2022): The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) previously provided guidance explaining that, to ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, the Federal Government will take no action to enforce any contract clause implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042 absent further written notice from the contracting agency. In anticipation of a potential narrowing of the existing nationwide injunction due to developments in ongoing litigation, OMB and the Task Force are clarifying that they anticipate that three guidance documents will be issued following any narrowing of the nationwide injunction. First, after any narrowing of the nationwide injunction, OMB will issue a notice to Federal agencies regarding, among other things, compliance with applicable injunctions and whether contract clauses implementing Executive Order 14042 should be included in new solicitations and contracts. Second, after the anticipated narrowing of the nationwide injunction, the Task Force will issue updated written guidance regarding COVID-19 safety protocols for covered contractor and subcontractor workplace locations, which will include a timeline for implementation. This updated guidance will be issued following development and review by the Task Force, subject to the OMB Director’s approval and determination published in the Federal Register that the updated guidance promotes economy and efficiency in Federal contracting, in accordance with Executive Order 14042. Third, after this updated Task Force guidance is issued and if the OMB Director makes the requisite determinations, OMB will provide guidance to agencies regarding timeline and considerations for the contracting agency’s written notice to contractors regarding enforcement of any contract clauses implementing requirements of Executive Order 14042, excepting any contracts or contractors covered by applicable injunctions. See For Federal Contractors for additional information. 
    • Read the COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (Updated November 10, 2021; PDF, Download Adobe Reader). It sets forth workplace safety protocols for Federal contractors and subcontractors pursuant to Executive Order 14042 (Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors). (Note: a revised PDF was posted on November 11, 2021 that corrected an inadvertent typographical error.)

For questions or comments, email the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force at SaferFederalWorkforce@gsa.gov