AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – According to representatives from Bell Textron Inc., the company has suspended its Jan. 4 COVID-19 vaccination deadline in the wake of district courts temporarily halting the Executive Order mandating the shots for federal contractor employees.

This court order followed the Biden administration’s September order that employees at federal contractors be vaccinated for COVID-19 by Jan. 4. That order paired with a mandate for workers at healthcare facilities treating Medicaid and Medicare patients to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by the same date, as well as employees of companies with over 100 workers.

All three of these orders have been tied up in court challenges over the past weeks, leading to many pausing their enforcement. However, while the federal mandates have been held back due to legal obstacles, employers are still able to require the shots.

“Since the federal Executive Order mandating COVID-19 vaccines for federal contractor employees was announced, we have been working in good faith to ensure compliance with the Order,” said Bell Textron Inc., “With multiple federal district courts temporarily halting enforcement of the Executive Order, we are suspending the January 4 vaccination deadline established for compliance until these legal challenges are resolved. If the courts ultimately uphold the Executive Order, we will reinstate the vaccine requirements of the mandate.”

Amarillo has seen multiple small-group protests regarding the idea of vaccine mandates from major employers in the last weeks, with events being held at both Pantex and Bell facilities in the area. The discussions over whether employers or the government should be able to require vaccinations, and to what extent, have become a heated topic as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.