• Virginia Adopts First-in-the-Nation Workplace Safety Standards for COVID-19 Pandemic


    Commonwealth of Virginia
    Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam
     
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE · July 15, 2020
     
     
    Office of the Governor
     
    Virginia Adopts First-in-the-Nation Workplace Safety Standards for COVID-19 Pandemic
     
    ~ In the absence of federal guidelines, newly adopted workplace safety rules will help protect Virginia workers from the spread of COVID-19 ~
     
    RICHMONDGovernor Ralph Northam today announced the adoption of statewide emergency workplace safety standards in response to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. These first-in-the-nation safety rules will protect Virginia workers by mandating appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces across the Commonwealth. The actions come in the absence of federal guidelines.
     
    “Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living, especially during an ongoing global pandemic,” said Governor Northam. “In the face of federal inaction, Virginia has stepped up to protect workers from COVID-19, creating the nation’s first enforceable workplace safety requirements. Keeping Virginians safe at work is not only a critical part of stopping the spread of this virus, it’s key to our economic recovery and it’s the right thing to do.”
     
    Newly adopted standards require all employers to mandate social distancing measures and face coverings for employees in customer-facing positions and when social distancing is not possible, provide frequent access to hand washing or hand sanitizer, and regularly clean high-contact surfaces. In addition, new standards require all employees be notified within 24 hours if a coworker tests positive for the virus. 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. 
     
    The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board voted today to approve an emergency temporary standard on infectious disease prevention after Governor Northam directed the creation of enforceable regulations in May. These temporary emergency standards will remain in effect for six months and can be made permanent through the process defined in state law.
     
    “As a top state for workforce development, it should be no surprise that Virginia is also the first in the nation to establish such a robust set of emergency workplace safety regulations,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Our workers are our greatest asset, and I am confident that these temporary standards will provide Virginians with the peace of mind they need to return to work and fuel the Commonwealth’s economic recovery.”
     
    “Keeping Virginia’s economy moving forward has never been more important, and keeping our workers safe is critical to sustained economic recovery,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “COVID-19 is unfortunately going to continue impacting our everyday lives, and these regulations will provide for safer, more predictable workplaces for Virginians.”
     
    “The Commonwealth’s new emergency workplace safety standards are a powerful tool in our toolbox for keeping Virginia workers safe and protected throughout this pandemic,” said C. Ray Davenport, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry. “Many employers have already enacted these evidence-based practices, and we are committed to working collaboratively with those who have not to ensure they are in compliance with the new emergency temporary standard.” 
     
    The emergency temporary standards, infectious disease preparedness and response plan templates, and training guidance will be posted on the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry website at doli.virginia.gov. Workers who feel unsafe in their workplace can file a formal complaint with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration here.
     
     
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  • “Relaunch Chesterfield” Aims to Reopen Chesterfield Businesses

    What?

    Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce, Chesterfield Cabinet and Chesterfield County have united to support a coordinated relaunching of the Chesterfield economy.   Relaunch focuses on issues for businesses and elected officials around the county to consider as reopening plans are made. "Relaunch Chesterfield" is meant to work in conjunction with the Governors’ Covid-19 Business Task Force recommendations as they too begin the work of relaunching Virginia’s economy. 

    "Relaunch Chesterfield" will be developed in partnership with business leaders across a broad array of industry sectors and organizations around the county, including but not limited to the following sections:

    • Health and Safety First/Internal & External Customers
    • Retail
    • Restaurants
    • Hospitality
    • Arts & Entertainment
    • Healthcare Services
    • Personal Care Service Industry
    • K-12 Education & Childcare and Daycare

    "Relaunch Chesterfield" is meant to serve as a start to the conversation for returning more employees and businesses to work, rather than serving as a final, prescriptive set of answers or solutions.

    We are currently seeking participants to work and lead in these individual industry workgroups.  Please submit your information to be considered for an interested industry cluster workgroup by clicking here.    

    Why?
    Businesses are resilient in creating opportunities to thrive in challenging conditions.  Businesses ability to pivot their business model and allow others to learn from that change is important for the greatest number of businesses to relaunch. By joining efforts and bringing businesses and resources together we have the ability to make adjustments quickly and start commerce sooner. 

    When the Commonwealth is ready to open Virginia, Chesterfield will be ready to open.

    How?
    We are looking for 8-10 people for each industry workgroup indicated to develop a framework for success.  Models and examples are already available as a guide from across the Country.  Workgroups using best practices can have the best opportunity for a successful plan.