Virginia To Enact Permanent COVID-19 Employee Health and Safety Requirements
January 20, 2021
The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board has voted to approve a Final Permanent Standard (Final Standard) related to COVID-19. It is anticipated that Governor Northam will approve the Final Standard very soon. The Final Standard sets forth health and safety requirements related to COVID-19 for all Virginia employers and is expected become effective on January 27, 2021. The Final Standard largely adopts obligations already in place under the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that Virginia adopted in July 2020 but which expires on January 26, 2021. The Final Standard contains a few differences from the ETS. For instance, under the ETS employers have been required to notify the Virginia Department of Health each time an employee was confirmed to be positive for the COVID-19 virus; under the Final Standard, employers need only make such notification to the Department of Health if it uncovers two cases within 14 days. The Final Standard no longer allows employers to rely on negative COVID-19 tests as the basis for employees to return to work.