(KPTV) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Wednesday that it has suspended the implementation and enforcement of the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large companies due to a court order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit ordered the mandate be halted until further notice. In response to the court's decision, the Department of Justice said it will vigorously defend the rules laid out by OSHA.

"The court ordered that OSHA 'take no steps to implement or enforce' the [Emergency Temporary Standard,] 'until further court order,'" OSHA said in a statement on its website. "While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation."

Previously, OSHA gave employers with more than 100 employees until Jan. 4 to require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing as part of President Joe Biden's plan to combat the virus. Under the mandate, businesses could be fined thousands of dollars for not being in compliance.

FOX 12 spoke with Tung Yin, a law professor at Lewis & Clark. He broke down what could come next.

"You know, if the litigation works its way through and let's say, I mean, the possibilities are that the Supreme Court takes the case, or a group - a bigger group of the entire Fifth Circuit could decide to rehear the case and they could decide that, 'hey, you know that group of judges who stayed the mandate, we don't think that their analysis was right,' in which case they would undo the stay, they would dissolve the stay. So that might then also lead OSHA to think that 'hey, it's ok, let's move forward with the mandate," Yin explained.

Before the suspension of the enforcement for the mandate, senior administration officials said OSHA would help employers in creating their own vaccine and testing guidelines.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.