A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday reinstated a Biden administration mandate for large companies to require COVID vaccines for their employees, after the measure was stayed in court in November.

President Joe Biden had set a Jan. 4 deadline for companies with more than 100 employees to ensure that their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a rule the administration said would affect more than two-thirds of the nation’s workforce.

Friday’s ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals removes an earlier stay, allowing the vaccine order to move forward, although the matter is likely to head to the Supreme Court.

Judge Jane Stranch did not rule on medical efficacy of the order, but ruled that it had the potential to be considered legally valid to protect U.S. workers from the coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the United States, resulting in the loss of more than 800,000 lives, the closure of workplaces and jobs across the country, and threatening our economy,” she said. Therefore, the previous injunction was not lawful, he added.

The ruling contradicts a decision last month by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which criticized the injunction as “overbroad.”

The opposing rulings between the two courts raised a possible appeal challenge in the Supreme Court from petitioners in the case, which include five heavily Republican states, as well as several private businesses and religious groups.

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