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Virginia - COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standards

On July 15, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the adoption of COVID-19 statewide emergency workplace safety standards that mandate the following for Virginia workplaces:

  • Personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans; and
  • Recordkeeping, training, and hazard communications.

For instance, the new standards will require:

  • Employers to mandate social distancing measures and face coverings for employees in customer-facing positions. When social distancing is not possible, employers must provide employees with frequent access to hand washing or hand sanitizer, and high-contact surfaces must be regularly cleaned.
  • Employees to be notified within 24 hours if a coworker tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Employees who are known or suspected to be positive for COVID-19 cannot return to work for 10 days or until they receive two consecutive negative tests. 

On July 15, 2020, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board adopted the Emergency Temporary Standard, Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS‐CoV‐2 Virus That Causes COVID‐19 (ETS), which will implement the new workplace standards. The ETS is being finalized and will be effective when it is published in a general circulation newspaper. Publication is anticipated to occur during the week of July 27, 2020, although the exact date is unknown. The ETS will be in effect for six months, unless made permanent, and covered employers will be given 60 days from its effective date to develop and train employees on their Infectious disease preparedness and required response plan, and then, 30 days to train their employees.