Virginia Becomes First State to Adopt Statewide Emergency Workplace Procedures Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on July 16, 2020

On July 15, 2020, Virginia adopted § 16 VAC 25-220, Emergency Temporary Standard, and Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19.

The Emergency Temporary Standard, which was drafted under the direction of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and approved by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board, requires Virginia employers to:

  • Mandate social distancing and face coverings for employees in customer-facing positions when social distancing is not possible;
  • Provide access to hand washing or hand sanitizer;
  • Clean high-contact surfaces regularly;
  • Notify employees within 24 hours if a coworker tests positive for COVID-19; and
  • Keep any employee who is known or suspected to be positive for COVID-19 home for 10 days or until they receive two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests.

The text of the emergency temporary standards, infectious disease preparedness and response plan templates and training guidance are being finalized and will be posted on the Virginia Department of Labor’s website. The Emergency Temporary Standards will take immediate effect upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation, published in Richmond, Virginia. The exact publication date is unknown, however the Virginia Department of Labor anticipates the publication will occur the week of July 27, 2020.

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 rapidly changes from day to day, and as laws and executive orders change, we continually review and adjust our clients policies, plans, and workplace procedures to reflect the most recent developments. If you are a Virginia employer, we can assist in developing your workplace policies to ensure you have a safe, and compliant, workplace.