As an executive of a small Virginia business I strongly oppose making the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Emergency Standard permanent. Along with the vast majority of small businesses we have responded to the pandemic by acting to protect our employees and our customers. Our business has learned to adapt to these unforeseeable circumstances by implementing safety protocols developed from a number of federal and state sources. We care about our employees' and our clients' health because without them our business does not exist.
Our business readily complied with the emergency temporary standard, but making these standards permanent is unnecessary at this time and an example of gross regulatory overreach. The impact COVID-19 is having on our communities is changing rapidly and so is the science - and all in a positive direction! The Board should NOT move at this time to make the Standard permanent when it’s likely this pandemic will be temporary. Imposing “one size fits all” COVID-19 regulations on all employers is unreasonable especially when guidance is continually changing as we learn more about the virus. The temporary standards are not expiring for months, and the Board should take the time to monitor not only the health impact of the virus over time but also the challenges employers are facing implementing the emergency regulations before taking any further action.
We are told repeatedly by our elected officials, unelected bureaucrats, and the media that we must follow the science. If this is true then show us the science. The Board has not shown us the science because consistent science does not exist. Different jurisdictions, states and nations responded in widely varying ways to the pandemic with widely varying results. The government should not impose regulations on the People based simply upon what the Board feels or wishes to be true about the science. . Should the Board move to make the standards permanent at this time, then in my view the Board exposes its true motivation an nothing more than a raw grab for power.
Our company has taken this virus seriously and responded accordingly. Making the emergency standards permanent at this time only serves to increase mistrust of governmental officials and heighten tensions in our communities. The Board must exercise restraint and resist the typical bureaucratic reflex to "not let an opportunity go to waste." If making the standards permanent is indeed necessary then let the legislators take up the issue in the appropriate forum where the People can hold them accountable for their actions.