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Virginia - Mandatory Masks for Essential Retail Businesses

On November 13, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam released his Sixth Amended Executive Order 67 and Amended Order of Public Health Emergency Seven (2020) requiring all employees of essential retail businesses to wear a face covering whenever working in customer facing areas, which are:

  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
  • Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
  • Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
  • Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
  • Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
  • Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
  • Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
  • Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
  • Retail located within healthcare facilities;
  • Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
  • Pet stores and feed stores;
  • Printing and office supply stores; and
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners.

Face coverings must also be worn by all persons over age five when entering, exiting, traveling through, and spending time inside all businesses or any other indoor place where people are in close proximity. However, a face covering is not required for any person who:

  • Has trouble breathing;
  • Is trying to communicate with the hearing impaired and their mouth needs to be visible; or
  • Persons with health conditions or disabilities that prohibit wearing a face covering.

Additionally, the order does not require a face covering when it would be contrary to someone’s health or safety because of their medical condition(s), but adaptations and alternatives for individuals with health conditions or disabilities should be considered whenever possible. However, any person who declines to wear a face covering because of a medical condition must not be required to:

  • Produce or carry medical documentation verifying their condition; or
  • Identify their precise underlying medical condition.

The order also directs the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry to release emergency regulations and standards to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. These regulations and standards, which have not been released yet, will address personal protective equipment, respiratory protective equipment, and sanitation, access to employee exposure and medical records and hazard communication.

The order took effect on November 16, 2020 and remains in effect until amended or revoked.