WASHINGTON, DC — The COVID-19 pandemic has entered yet another chapter. The rise of the Omicron variant, which is extremely contagious but less severe than the previously dominant Delta variant, has spiked cases to their highest numbers. The US is averaging more than 1 million new cases per day.

As these circumstances change, so is government guidance on how to keep individuals — and workforces — safe. To help the baking industry keep up with these evolving regulations, the American Bakers Association (ABA) put together a quick guide to the top three COVID protocols bakers and suppliers need to know in the coming days and weeks.


“There are numerous items in motion right now involving COVID-19 protocols, including quickly approaching deadlines, a Supreme Court case, and updated CDC guidance,” said Robb MacKie, president and CEO, ABA. “[Members], don’t hesitate to reach out to us for clarification or assistance.”

First, the industry should take note of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). This order was handed down in early November to companies with more than 100 employees.

ABA and other petitioners filed a motion with the US Supreme Court requesting a new emergency stay on the ETS. The Court is set to hear oral arguments on the stay tomorrow, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Oral arguments can be heard during its livestream on the SCOTUS website.

“There are numerous items in motion right now involving COVID-19 protocols, including quickly approaching deadlines, a Supreme Court case, and updated CDC guidance.” —Robb MacKie | president and CEO | ABA


“Given the uncertainty of when SCOTUS will make a decision, we encourage members to continue to prepare for compliance,” MacKie said. “ABA will update members on any developments around enforcement of the ETS.”

OSHA will begin enforcement of the ETS on January 10, and the standard’s testing requirements on Feb. 9. To learn more about OSHA’s ETS, visit OSHA’s website; vaccination, testing and face covering policy template; FAQ page; or webinar.

Second, there have been updates on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s guidance for isolation and masking. The CDC has shortened its isolation and quarantine recommendations for those who are positive with COVID-19 and asymptomatic or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Its guidance matrix provides recommendations for individuals who are unvaccinated, vaccinated with a booster shot and vaccinated without a booster. The Acheson Group (TAG), a consulting firm specializing in food safety and operational risk management, has shared a new assessment of COVID-19 safety recommendations that baking companies can use as a resource.


Third, ABA emphasized that the Rapid Action Consortium (RAC) has access to affordable, high-quality COVID-19 rapid tests for its members thanks to the organization’s buying power. The consortium also has access to an app at a reduced price that can help organizations align with the OSHA ETS requirements by using AI to read and interpret results (and have human validation where the AI is unable to read results). Each RAC member organization covers the costs of their own tests.

ABA provides continuing COVID-related information and resources for the baking industry. Visit for more.