The Northam administration (per E.O. 63) has directed the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) to “… promulgate emergency regulations and standards to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.” The draft regulations are available for review with a public comment period that expires on Monday, June 22. On Wednesday, June 24, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board will hold an emergency meeting to consider and vote on adoption of the regulations and standards. For more information, including directions for submitting comments, go to https://www.doli.virginia.gov/safety-and-health-codes-board-electronic-emergency-meeting.
VACo notes that the draft standards include the following requirements (not inclusive) that counties will need to implement:
- Classification of all employees as “very high,” “high,” “medium,” or “lower” risk, based on the potential level of exposure in performing their duties;
- Development and implementation of an “Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan” per CDC Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, including designation of a person responsible for implementing the plan;
- Provision of respiratory protection and personal protective equipment (PPE) for “multiple employees” occupying the same vehicle for work purposes, and for employees whose “work or the work area does not allow them to observe physical distancing requirements.”
- Screening of all “very high,” “high” and “medium” classified employees for COVID-19 symptoms prior to each work shift;
- Installation of physical barriers (such as clear plastic sneeze guards) to mitigate the spread of the virus; and
- At a minimum, the cleaning and disinfecting of all common spaces (including bathrooms) at the end of each work shift.
VACo is reviewing the draft regulations for the potential fiscal impacts counties will face in implementing them, and to what extent Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) allocations may be utilized to pay for them.
VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP