Dear Commissioner Davenport and Members of the Safety and Health Codes Board,
The health and safety of our workforce and customers continue to be the top priority for businesses in the commonwealth during the ongoing pandemic. The business community supports clear and consistent workplace health protection protocols; however, we remain concerned about the impact many of the provisions of the emergency temporary standards have on businesses and encourage you to not make them permanent.
However, if the Board does decide to move forward with a permanent standard, then several components of the standard will need to be tweaked to provide businesses with additional flexibility. We remain concerned that the emergency temporary standards, as currently written, contain several inconsistencies with state and federal regulations and some constitutional concerns.
Below are some of the areas of the ETS that need attention if a permanent standard is pursued:
The Board should also consider the burden that making this standard permanent and adding additional provisions will have on businesses that continue to struggle with the economic consequences of this pandemic.
Lastly, we continue to believe that enforcement of these provisions should be handled with understanding and leniency. Virginia businesses, many of which have been devastated by the economic impact of this pandemic, are working hard to remain safely operational for their workforce and customers; however, the shifting regulatory landscape continues to be a significant challenge, especially for Virginia’s small businesses. As the Board considers making these standards permanent, it is our hope that they will refrain from overenforcement and not penalize businesses that have given a good faith effort in following these complicated rules that continue to change.
Thank you for your consideration.
Barry E. DuVal
President and CEO