On July 15, the Virginia Safety and Health Code Boards adopted §16 VAC 25-220, an Emergency Temporary Standard that is designed to establish requirements for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to and among employees and employers. The ETS will take effect during the week of July 27, and will generally do the following:
Mandate social distancing at workplaces.
Require businesses to assess their workplaces for potential exposure to the virus.
Mandate face covering for employees in customer-facing positions or when social distancing isn’t possible.
Require businesses to sanitize common areas daily.
Require businesses to provide easy and frequent access to hand washing and hand sanitizer.
Mandate that businesses notify employees within 24 hours if a co-worker tests positive for the virus.
Bar employees known or suspected to be positive for COVID-19 from returning to work for at least three days after symptoms subside, at least 10 days after they were first diagnosed, or until they test negative for the virus.
Prohibit employers from retaliating or discriminating against workers who air concerns about infection risks on the job with each other, government agencies, traditional news outlets, or on social media.
The regulations will also set more stringent requirements for jobs deemed to be medium, high, or very high risk.
Covered employers will be given 60 days from the effective date of the ETS to develop and train employees on their infectious disease preparedness and response plan required under §16 VAC 25-220-70. Covered employers will be given 30 days to train employees on the standard under §16 VAC 25-220-80.
Violating the ETS may result in a maximum penalty of $13,047, but “willful and repeat” violations could result in fines of up to $130,463.
The ETS will expire in six months, upon expiration of the Governor's State of Emergency, or when replaced or repealed by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board, whichever occurs first.
We will provide additional updates as the ETS becomes finalized and takes effect.
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