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7/28/20  10:54 am
Commenter: Terry Pruitt, Gaston Brothers Utilities, LLC

Department of Labor and Industry Announces Intent to Adopt a Permanent Standard for Infectious Disea
 

It is premature to make the Temporary Standard a Permanent Standard.  The Department should "let the dust settle", before contemplating a Standard that will be very difficult to enforce and will call into question the qualifications of Compliance Officers who will make compliance determinations.  

The Temporary Standard is already burdensome and only addresses the prevention of spreading COVID-19 among co-workers.  I do not think it is VOSH's job "police" infections likely caused outside the workplace.  Businesses do not need a VOSH enforcement tool to address the problem; it is better left to state and local Health Departments.

CommentID: 84192
 

7/30/20  4:15 pm
Commenter: Lisa Gray

Proposed Permanent Standard Infection Disease Prevention
 

Mandating that employees social distance and wear face masks when distancing is not possible on a permanent basis just to control SARS type viruses is both premature and unsustainable.  Small businesses do not have the resources to pay employees to stay home for several days because cold symptoms mirror SARS symptoms.  Not to mention, employees can't afford to stay home unpaid for conditions that mimic SARS, such as allergies, common colds, ear infections, etc.    

CommentID: 84195
 

7/31/20  9:27 am
Commenter: Christina White

Proposed Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention
 

This is a good start to having a usable plan for this and other infectious diseases.  There will need to be some adjusting of the some of the sections including the antibody testing section as we learn more and get better test methods.  We need to have guidelines to protect workers and hold businesses accountable.  Having healthy and safe employees will lead to having healthier and safer customers.  This will help businesses in the long run as safer businesses are more profitable.

CommentID: 84196
 

8/5/20  10:33 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Return to work requirements must be consistent with CDC and VDH guidance
 

It is problematic that the return to work criteria in both the temporary standard and proposed permanent standard are not consistent with CDC and VDH guidance. Physicians have been following CDC guidance and providing return to work notes to their patients based on CDC/VDH guidance. Employers should not be placed in a position of second guessing and over-riding a physician's note. What is the liability to the employer if they do not allow an employee to return to work who has been released by their physician to do so? Secondly, since CDC/VDH guidance is constantly evolving and they produce clear and helpful communications and posters, the standards should simply refer to the CDC/VDH guidance on when to end isolation.

CommentID: 84202
 

8/26/20  9:45 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Keep OSHA Out of this !!!
 

We already have four dragons breathing down our necks telling us what to do and what not to do (Loudoun County Health Dept., VDH, CDC, the Governor's Executive Orders).  My god, we can't even run our business' for all the none-stop minutia raining down on us.  The last thing we need is yet another (5th) dragon breathing down our necks ... telling us what to do.  WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT TO DO !!!  Stop this insanity now!!!

CommentID: 84237
 

8/30/20  3:06 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Intent to Adopt a Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention
 

Making this permanent is an unnecessary overreach in response to what is, ultimately, a temporary problem. The order is very specific to COVID-19, which, presumably, will eventually have a vaccine. Furthermore, the addition of new, onerous burdens placed on employers who are already struggling to keep their businesses going during a time when the government is preventing business as usual is outrageous. Most of us are working with significantly reduced revenue and higher cost of operations due to the restrictions the government has already created. We are all researching CDC and VDH guidelines for ways to make our businesses as safe as possible for our employees and customers. Adding additional government oversight and burdensome regulations – which often do not align with the guidelines from agencies with more insight into effective strategies for infectious disease control – is not in the best interest of anyone. It is also important to note that recommendations from CDC and VDH continue to change on a regular basis. It would be highly irresponsible to enact long term mandates based on a snapshot of an evolving situation.

CommentID: 84246
 

8/31/20  2:35 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Inconsistency and Burden
 

We are a private preschool and have been deemed essential by governor's order. We are very proud to have stayed open during the whole Covid-19 crisis and offer our current parents and new - essential - parents a safe space for their children.

We have been following all guidelines (CDC, VDH, VDSS, Governor's Mandates) diligently, even when they were often conflicting and inconsistent. 

We do not need another government body(DOLI) have us comply with yet another standard, potentially creating more confusion.There is no consistency, e.g. DOLI requires the return to work policy to be 72 hours fever free, and 7 days with no symptoms, while the CDC requires 24 hours and 10 days! Face coverings instructions are unclear - is it when social distancing cannot be maintained, or at all times, as feasible?  The challenges with social distancing and young children are not mentioned at all in any of the specific regulations. Just as it is hard for medical personnel or law enforcement to social distance, it is hard for our teachers in dealing with young children.We do not need the threat to be thrown in jail or with a hefty fine. 

 

CommentID: 84250
 

8/31/20  3:27 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Let it go
 

The requirements of this standard are overly burdensome to continue indefinitely.  There is no data to support the need for this standard to become permanent.  To expect workers in Virginia to have to social distance and wear face coverings for the rest of their working lives is utterly ridiculous.  Perhaps if board members were to say that out loud to themselves they might actually realize how ridiculous that sounds.

I listened to all of the sessions on the adoption of the ETS and personally felt that it was a joke.  I am amazed how board members quickly changed their minds when the governor didn't like what they had to say. (learning institution requirements)  Some board members seemed to be in it in order to be able to get more clients for their consultation business or just to try to make a name for themselves.  I would be interested to see how they are all following the requirements that they themselves instituted.  A nice surprise VOSH visit to their establishments would be very interesting indeed.  Then again, it would be interesting to see if VOSH is even following these requirements.

Workers need to be able to get back to normal.  Employers need to be able to get back to normal.  You can't continue to force employers to put unrealistic protections in place just so their employees can blow those protections out of the water when they go to the bar, the grocery store or even to their evening sports leagues.  If workers aren't willing to take responsibility for themselves out in public then employers should not be forced to take the responsibility for them.  This standard ultimately makes employers responsible for what the workers are doing off the job and that just makes no sense whatsoever.  

We don't need more regulation.  We need more people with good sense.  Obviously that is lacking in the Governor's office, on the board, at VOSH and in the Commonwealth overall.

 

CommentID: 84251
 

9/2/20  4:52 pm
Commenter: Jason Monk, Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue

Symptom-based RTW Guidelines Not Inline with CDC
 

The current temporary standard for symptom-based return-to-work guidelines (Page 22, 1.a.i.) are inconsistent with current CDC and VDH guidelines. The DOLI temporary guidance requires 72 hours without a fever as one of the three requirements. However, the CDC recommends 24 hours without a fever. Otherwise, the guidance of the DOLI document and the CDC recommendations for RTW are identical. Because DOLI is a lawful requirement, we must follow the current DOLI recommendations even if they are not consistent with CDC guidance. By making the DOLI document consistent with CDC, it will clear up confusion and allow us to follow the most current recommendations. Another consideration would be to add language that won't require a document change if the CDC guidance changes, such as, "...or the most current CDC recommendations."

I respectfully request that the DOLI document, specifically 1.a.i. on page 22, reflect the current CDC recommendations.

Current DOLI Guidance

a. For known or suspected to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus employees the symptom-based strategy excludes an employee from returning to work until (i) at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and (ii) at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

Current CDC Recommendations (HCP)

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved

Current CDC Recommendations (all others)

  • For most persons with COVID-19 illness, isolation and precautions can generally be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset1 and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms.
    • A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days that may warrant extending duration of isolation and precautions for up to 20 days after symptom onset; consider consultation with infection control experts.
CommentID: 84406
 

9/4/20  9:49 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Intent to Permanently Mask the Citizens of Virgnia
 

There has been no actually, peer-studied, published, definitive evidence that masks work.  There is a lot of extrapolation from half-way done trials, no doubt, but hard evidence?  And any info should come from an agency that people can trust, which will be a challenge.  The CDC has been shown to lie, as did the WHO, as did the VA Governor. 

If masks work, then why social distance?  If social distancing works, why close everything?  I suspect VA will try to mandate a vaccine for something with a 0.03% fatality rate, but I digress. 

This a clear example of governmental and agency over-reach.  The state needs to completely re-open.  

If this does actually take effect it will be interesting to see what (and who) exemptions are contained in the final verbiage.  We all know Governor Northam is a fan, and practitioner, of "its good for thee but not for me".  Whether that is not wearing a mask or wearing blackface.

In closing I refer you back to our state's motto...but in today's vernacular, "karma's a witch".

CommentID: 84432
 

9/5/20  12:49 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Building Owner Notification Section
 

This section of the proposed regulations is overly burdensome to property/building owners. Leases with tenants are structured in many different (and complex) ways. A commercial property can be occupied by a tenant (or multiple tenants) and the tenant is 100% responsible for maintaining their space and common areas. It is not practical for tenants to notify their Landlord every time their is a COVID occurrence. It is also not practical to notify other tenants in the building of such occurrence. Policy makers need to consult experienced real estate attorneys to understand the legal impacts this proposal may have on the Landlord/Tenant relationship. 

If the Landlord is responsible for sanitizing the common area they will pass these costs on to the tenants. This can be extremely expensive and costly to business owners who are trying to remain solvent during an economic recession. 


“In the same manner as subdivision 8 a of this subsection, the building or facility owner. The building or facility owner will require all employer tenants to notify the owner of the occurrence of a SARS-CoV-2-positive test for any employees or residents in the building. This notification will allow the owner to take the necessary steps to sanitize the common areas of the building. In addition, the building or facility owner will notify all employer tenants in the building that one or more cases have been discovered and the floor or work area where the case was located.”

CommentID: 84459
 

9/11/20  9:56 am
Commenter: Michael Cassidy, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis

adopt a permanent standard consistent with the ETS
 

We commend the DOLI staff and Safety and Health Codes Board for developing and approving emergency temporary standards in a timely manner in the wake of COVID-19. In particular, we thank DOLI and the Board for prioritizing physical distancing, which is one of the best ways to prevent person to person spread. We also strongly support requiring employers to provide greater transparency and communication when someone in the workplace has been infected with COVID-19, while still complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable Virginia laws and regulations. Finally, we appreciate the strong sanitation requirements applying to workplaces and the standards that ensure access to basic sanitation needs for workers.

 

The proposed Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention for COVID-19 would maintain important protections for working people and communities in Virginia and provide continuity with the emergency temporary standards, thereby reducing the challenges employers and employees would face from changing regulations. 

 

Thank you for considering these comments from The Commonwealth Institute.  We urge you to do what is right to protect Virginia’s workers and adopt the proposed Permanent Standard. 

 

Sincerely,

Michael J. Cassidy

President & CEO

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis

Richmond, VA

CommentID: 84766
 

9/13/20  9:44 am
Commenter: Nancy Neal

ETS as Permanent Standard
 

I applaud the Governor and the Board for issuing the ETS, and fully support making the standard permanent. I am sorry that it places a burden on employers. DOLI / VOSH has offered assistance and as this virus is deadly and highly contagious there is no other responsible choice.

This virus spreads exponentially and as the majority of citizens are employed, it makes sense that they could be exposed and unintentionally infect the workplace- also, without the mandatory requirement of employer notification to employees once a suspected or positive case is reported and subsequent isolation required, could destroy the entire workforce and their families, and ruin the business entirely, with the added detriment of facilitating widespread community transmission. 

Make it permanent unless and until a vaccine is available that destroys or prevents Covid-19.

 

 

 

CommentID: 84837
 

9/15/20  2:43 pm
Commenter: Olin Kinney, Operatons Support Group, Metropolitan Washington Airports Auth

HVAC System Operating As Designed per VA USBC
 

The engineering controls proposed in the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) from Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry, effective July 27, 2020, stipulate compliance with the 2019 version of ASHRAE Standard 62.1 and 62.2, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.  These engineering controls represent an overreach of the regulatory process since it is impractical for Owners of existing buildings, absent of any pending major renovations, to comply with standards that precede the time when the facilities were designed and constructed.   Building HVAC systems in use have been designed, constructed, and commissioned in accordance with strict building code requirements in effect at the time of issuing the Certificate of Occupancy.  The engineering controls in the ETS should only require systems to be maintained and operated in accordance with their system design and related manufacturer requirements  as of the date of the Certificate of Occupancy or subsequent upgrade to the system. 

Although the Department of Labor and Industry utilized the language of the ETS as a basis for the proposed regulation, it is imperative to tailor any permanent regulation for a magnitude and duration commensurate to the risk presented.  The COVID-19 pandemic methods of transmission are not fully understood, yet regulations are being proposed to significantly change large components of buildings to address those methods of transmission.  Requiring retroactive compliance with a  2019 ASHRAE HVAC standard without fully understanding the real risk from the HVAC system on the building occupants  for virus dispersion is premature at best.  It should be left to the industry trade groups to determine the most effective design and performance requirements for existing and new HVAC systems and any permanent regulations should follow existing processes contained in the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) which utilize appropriate industry investigation and recommendations. 

CommentID: 84898
 

9/16/20  11:03 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Unnecessary and Dangerous
 

This is an extreme response to a temporary health issue. Making an already ridiculous requirement of employers, employees and the public a permanent burden for a mildly harmful virus, will undeniably cause harm. Face coverings are useless in a non sterile environment. Their only purpose is to make the public feel safe. All of these proposed requirements are actually harmful and not at all helpful. The more we wear masks, sanitize everything obsessively, etc. we are lowering our immune systems and our body’s abilities to fight viruses,  putting us at an increased risk for serious health complications. If this were to pass and become a permanent requirement, people will become sick, businesses will fail, unemployment will continue, mental health will continue to decline. Enough with the insanity. We need to return to normalcy and this is the direct opposite of that. 

CommentID: 84924
 

9/16/20  4:25 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

There has to be a reasonable balance
 

This temporary standard has not been in force long enough to measure its effectiveness, and therefore making it permanent is premature at best, and an abuse of power at worst. 

Many organizations enacted the majority of the measures within these standards long before they were standards because they cared about their employees and consumers and they had to maintain operations for the good of those people and their surrounding community.  But they did so not assuming if they didn't they'd be investigated, fined, jailed or shut-down if they didn't.  And they certainly didn't do it with the expectation that a one-size-fits-all would apply to every business.  

The intent of these standards, slowing the spread of this particular contagion, should be commended.  Face coverings work to absorb many (not all) respiratory droplets in a piece of fabric instead of allowing free dispersion through the air.  Sanitation and disinfection works to kill active germs on people and surfaces.  Physical distancing works to limit exposure potential between infected and non-infected people by choosing to assume all people could be infected. 

Unfortunately, these are all systems that cannot be 100% effective as they require the participation of all parties, at all times.  And businesses cannot be held responsible for the behavior of employees and consumers when they are not on the premises of the business.

Ultimately, employees do not spend their entire lives at work, so making the assumption that multiple people who work for the same business and are infected with a highly contagious virus (that is in community spread) were infected as the result of the conditions of that workplace is absurd.  

Businesses cannot police the behavior of their employees or consumers during the times when they are not on premises of the business.

However, businesses are now under heightened scrutiny and risk of liability should either a consumer or employee become ill.  Businesses must report to the VDH, even though a positive test has already been shared with VDH.  And if multiple employees test positive, the business must also report to DOLI as the business is now considered the site of an "outbreak," despite there being no absolute method to determine where that individual transmitted the disease.  Correlation does not equate causality yet in this case, an ill person's employer is under investigation.

If two employees who follow the employer's Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan during work hours, but then go on vacations and later test positive for COVID-19, it is absolutely ridiculous to assume the employer was the source of those infections and the home of an "outbreak."  

The symptoms of COVID-19 mirror those of seasonal allergies, the common cold (another coronavirus), the flu and many other conditions.  And the list of symptoms continues to change in length, severity and commonality. 

The poorly defined screening process that is required by these standards ensures that any employee could justify not coming to work nearly every single day if they so chose.  It could also ensure that any employer would be forced to send any number of their workforce home nearly every single day, based on the responses reported by the employee. 

How many people who just read that have experienced a low grade fever, or a cough within the past 8 months?  

Did they all stay home from work each time?  Did all of them get tested for COVID-19?  If they got tested, did they get their results back in a timely fashion?  Did they share those results?  

Never mind the fact that not everyone has paid sick time.  Never mind the fact that businesses need employees to operate, employees need paychecks to provide for their families, and that employees are afraid to share their positive COVID-19 test. 

Beyond the employee screening, there are still customers who refuse to wear a mask in businesses and workers who are afraid of being assaulted simply because they had the audacity to remind the customer of the law.

Even the local police department won't consistently wear face coverings in indoor settings despite the law because some of them (like many delusional Americans these days) believe the virus is a "hoax." 

How can we really expect an employee or a manager of an organization to feel confident that those same police will support them in removing somebody in the midst of a full-on "don't tread on me" tantrum because they want to buy their cigarettes without wearing a mask? 

It is safer for the business to hang a sign and not confront one of these people... their job doesn't pay them nearly enough to risk their life for it.  Managers don't make enough money to confront a headstrong hoaxer either, and the only recourse is to call the police... and then wait for them to show up to essentially say the exact same thing only while wearing a badge and a gun.  

That's not exactly great for business and there isn't any enforceable action for a business beyond no-trespass orders to keep one of those people out of their business and back in their delusions and denial.  

But just let a couple of employees of one of those establishments get COVID-19 and suddenly the business is the site of an "outbreak," and an investigation by DOLI, despite their best efforts to enforce the law and their internal policy.

Finally, to assume that this crisis is permanent places unnecessary burden on businesses and further escalates the fear of employees that they are unsafe at work.

While all the presentations from all the consultancy firms (who are making a mint off these standards) have repeatedly said that the vast majority of businesses fall into the "Medium Risk" category, more and more employees are feeling unsafe without N95 respirators, face shields and gloves despite global shortages and the fact that those items should be reserved for people working directly with patients infected with COVID-19.  

It isn't enough to have someone complete an exposure level risk assessment and conclude that face coverings, sanitation/disinfection and social distancing is sufficient if the standard itself says face coverings aren't PPE and that every employee on Earth can point out situations where those three things might not work and file an anonymous complaint against their employer.

I appreciate the intent of temporary standards and while many of them are incredibly burdensome and nearly impossible for DOLI to enforce (since their plan is to start any investigation by requesting a copy of the IDPR plan so they don't have to actually come on site), there is a solid benefit and community responsibility to protect the health of our workers and customers the best we can.

But these cannot be permanent standards.  This is not a permanent crisis nor can a business be expected to bear the full brunt of this level of scrutiny when the people these standards are implemented to protect are not under the constant supervision of businesses.  

My recommendation would be to continue with the existing temporary standard as is until the 5th month, and then extend it based on the relevant science of that time, the availability of information and the progress of vaccine availability.  

Virginia showed that it can lead the nation by developing these standards in the first place.  Let it now lead by maintaining a continuous review process to ensure they are effective and not needlessly burdensome to Virginians doing their best to stay alive and stay afloat.

CommentID: 84943
 

9/17/20  12:44 pm
Commenter: Ron Jenkins, Virginia Loggers Association

Provide Guidance Let Small Businesses Decide
 

Our medical, science and government leaders should strive to provide the best possible information about diseases and pandemics affecting the workplace environment.  However, the business owners should be allowed to make their own decisions on which best practices are appropriate for their business.  Regulations should not dictate over reaching mandates on employers.  Instead, provide updated information and let business owners do the rest.  Business owners do not need more regulations mandating what they must do and adding punitive liabilities for not choosing steps promoted by politics or bureaucracy.  Employers should be accountable for their decisions but give them the right to use their best judgment. Updated education is needed - not more regulations!

CommentID: 84956
 

9/17/20  4:14 pm
Commenter: Charles Davis: City of Norfolk Water Meter Mechanic Supervisor

Support for Permanent VOSH Standards
 
  • My name is Charles Davis and I'm a Water Meter Mechanic Supervisor in the Department of Combined Utilities for the City of Norfolk.

     

    Since the outbreak of COVID19, there have been numerous concerns regarding adequate personal protection equipment and proper social distancing. I’ve watched the City relocate office personnel to adhere to social distancing practices, but out in the field it’s not possible. The nature of work requires multiple employees to complete complex assignments. 

     

    I support the proposed permanent standard for infectious disease prevention for COVID-19.

     

    The essential functions listed in our job description highlight the fact that we are subjected to Communicable Diseases several times a week, Physical Danger, and Various Fumes and odors daily. And as stated in the interview process “This is an Essential Position which means you may be required to work nights, weekends, and rotating shifts, and holidays in response to severe weather events and emergencies.

     

    As a Supervisor, my personal Health and Safety as well as that of my colleagues, who provide daily Essential Public Services, are my priority. 

    I’m forced to ask questions:

     

    How expendable am I? How is expendable is my crew? Or the families we all support? We are exposed daily to COVID-19 induced work environments. 

     

    How does the City of Norfolk explain to the families of crew members when there is a loss of life due to exposure to COVID-19?

    It just happened recently! We lost one of our crew members... and guess what? The City did not tell us.  

     

    The lack of empathy and the failure of preparation from department/division heads, who in some cases were also exposed and not properly vetted and/or quarantined themselves, is a major concern right now amongst my colleagues.

    Currently, there is no process to follow-up with workers exposed to COVID-19.

    The standard should also include a COVID-19 exposure log and requirements for managing cases.

    Please Help us. Support the Front Line Workers here in the City of Norfolk.

CommentID: 84961
 

9/17/20  4:38 pm
Commenter: Charles Davis: City of Norfolk General Utilities Maintenance Supervisor

Support for Permanent VOSH Standards
 

My name is Charles Davis and I'm a General Utilities Maintenance Supervisor in the Department of Combined Utilities for the City of Norfolk.

 

Since the outbreak of COVID19, there have been numerous concerns regarding adequate personal protection equipment and proper social distancing. I’ve watched the City relocate office personnel to adhere to social distancing practices, but out in the field it’s not possible. The nature of work requires multiple employees to complete complex assignments. 

 

I support the proposed permanent standard for infectious disease prevention for COVID-19.

 

The essential functions listed in our job description highlight the fact that we are subjected to Communicable Diseases several times a week, Physical Danger, and Various Fumes and odors daily. And as stated in the interview process “This is an Essential Position which means you may be required to work nights, weekends, and rotating shifts, and holidays in response to severe weather events and emergencies.

 

As a Supervisor, my personal Health and Safety as well as that of my colleagues, who provide daily Essential Public Services, are my priority. 

I’m forced to ask questions:

 

How expendable am I? How is expendable is my crew? Or the families we all support? We are exposed daily to COVID-19 induced work environments. 

 

How does the City of Norfolk explain to the families of crew members when there is a loss of life due to exposure to COVID-19?

It just happened recently! We lost one of our crew members... and guess what? The City did not tell us.  

 

The lack of empathy and the failure of preparation from department/division heads, who in some cases were also exposed and not properly vetted and/or quarantined themselves, is a major concern right now amongst my colleagues.

Currently, there is no process to follow-up with workers exposed to COVID-19.

The standard should also include a COVID-19 exposure log and requirements for managing cases.

Please Help us. Support the Front Line Workers here in the City of Norfolk.

CommentID: 84963
 

9/17/20  8:16 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

A Permanent standard should only apply when the CDC or VDH declare a Pandemic
 

16VAC25-220 should only become permanent with the provision that it only requires employer to comply when the CDC and/or VDH have declared a infectous disease has become a pandemic. 

CommentID: 84969
 

9/21/20  10:07 am
Commenter: Nick Vranak, VP Safety Corman-Kokosing

Opposed to VOSH permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes C
 
  1. Objection to “face covering” requirements:
    1. At this time face coverings are a recommendation by the CDC.  They are not any federal guidelines from the CDC, only recommendations. 
    2. As the recommend CDC face covering are not an item of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). (i.e., designed, tested and approved to an actual performance standard such as respiratory protection) what does VOSH deem an acceptable face covering and why?   The wide range of what is considered an effective and acceptable face covering needs to be defined in the standard and not left to interpretation of a compliance officer.  
    3. The wearing of a face covering is not defined.  How to wear a face covering needs to be defined, as many wear it over their chin, mouth but not over their nose, etc.
    4. If the intent of VOSH is to regulate face coverings, the standard needs to clearly define the what is an acceptable face covering, and how it is to be worn, and medical conditions that would preclude one from the requirement.  Not everyone can wear a respirator, and in many ways a face covering is as restrictive on ones breathing.   If it is the intention of VOSH to enforce a face covering requirement, why not step up to making N95 Respirator Use (with exhale valves – not useable in the medical profession) the minimum requirement.     Then employers could administer a program in compliance with the respiratory standard.  
  2. Social Distancing is the better control.   In our industry (Heavy Civil Construction) we have been “essential” since the onset of the pandemic.   We have the ability to social distance and this control is working, along with washing hands and wearing a face covering when social distancing greater than 6-feet is not feasible.   Our companies work in many states and large urban city environments.   Our positivity rate is under (but closer) to 1% than 5+% positive by head count.   Of those team members that have tested positive a larger percentage of the group are office support personnel versus field personnel that would be required to wear a face covering even though they are able to practice social distancing.  Every person does not need to wear a face covering in situations where social distancing can be established and maintained.    
  3. Written Plan - Having a requirement for a written plan is acceptable.   It would be best for VOSH to provide a standard template as an appendix, to the standard to help promote consistency, and adaptation of all employers / businesses.     
    1. If the intention of VOSH is to make compliance a citable offense, then VOSH needs to better define the who, what, where and when requirements better.   In its present structure, the onus of the plan places the full responsibility on the employer to define controls that the CDC and VOSH have not defined.   Then VOSH will inspect and cite if the employer if they do not follow their plan.   It is the duty of VOSH, the State’s Lead Health and Safety Organization to define the requirements in detail so that employers can actually meet the requirements and have a positive impact on the prevention of the spread.   Without the necessary detail, low end plans will be implemented and have little impact but in theory be compliant.   While higher end plans (stretch plans) will penalize employers that are really trying to do more than a minimum plan.    Thereby creating an undo liability to employers.  
    2.  
  4. Training is acceptable and necessary.   Would like to see absolute clarity on the training expectations of VOSH.   VOSH is very grey in this area, thereby leaving the matter up to employer to determine the minimum standard and then debate this with a compliance officer at a later date.
  5. Consultation versus Citation - VOSH should also offer consultation and support services (including example documents) and spend more time on coaching and support of employers with this matter.   VOSH needs to support businesses with planning, communication and training on social distancing, clean and sanitize practices, face covering use, and other best practices that can be used to reduce the spread. 
    1. If there needs to be citations, then what is the intentions of VOSH with regards to them?   They are not clearly defined in the purposed standard.   OSHA typically publishes “instruction” for inspection procedures and enforcement.   I’m very concerned that VOSH Compliance Officers will be allowed interpretation of the standard based on their opinion of the contractor’s efforts and their opinion of compliance.    
    2. Multi-Employer citations.  We would not at all in agreement that any element of a Multi-Employer Doctrine being applied to this standard.   General Contractors have very little direct control for subs, service providers, and vendors, beyond face coverings.   With the vague and ambiguous nature of the purposed standard there is significant risk to employers.    
CommentID: 85187
 

9/21/20  10:36 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Premature Implementation
 

It is premature to permanently implement these standards. 

CommentID: 85192
 

9/21/20  2:04 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

ASHRAE Disconnect and Other Remarks
 

The proposed section 16VAC25-220-50 references ANSI/ASHRAE Standards 62.1 and 62.2 (2019a, 2019b).  However, the Virginia USBC utilizes the 2015 International Mechanical Code, which references ASHRAE 62.1-2013, which is two versions behind (i.e., 2016 and 2019).  So buildings currently under design would likely not fully comply with the referenced 2019 standard.  Older buildings designs may not be close to current building designs and equipment may not be capable of achieving the proposed standard.

Note that "'Economic feasibility' means the employer is financially able to undertake the measures necessary to comply with one or more requirements in this standard.  The cost of corrective measures to be taken will not usually be considered as a factor in determining whether a violation of this standard has occurred.  If an employer's level of compliance lags significantly behand of its industry, an employer's claim of economic infeasibility will not be accepted."  The term "industry" is undefined and is thus subject to varying interpretations and enforcements.  E.g., consider two private schools, one with 600 students and a $10M endowment and one with 125 students and no endowment.  Are they to be treated same because they are both in the private education "industry"?

Note that "Building or facility owner" is defined as "the legal entity, including a lessee, that exercises control over management and record keeping functions relating to a building or facility in which activities covered by this standard take place."  While the actual building owner might generally maintain and exercise such control, in a pre-existing lease, a lessee may have accepted such responsibility in exchange for a lower rent.  Clearly, at the time of entering into the lease pre-Covid, the lessee had no reason to believe that it would face the types of obligations that would be imposed by this proposed standard, which could result in financial ruin for a small business.

Outdoor air dilution is one aspect that is addressed in the proposed standard.  However, did not see where filtration improvements (MERV 13 seems to be minimum industry recommendation) or UV lights in air-handling systems are addressed.

There are vague references to "maintaining equipment."  If one is to demonstrate compliance with ASHRAE 62.1, that would require an engineering analysis and an air balance.

CommentID: 85205
 

9/21/20  3:24 pm
Commenter: James Whitehead

Reject the COVID Regulation
 

I urge those in power to reject the Permanent COVID regulation.  This regulation has not met rigorous standards for implementation and it is not known with supporting data if the regulation will have any positive effects.  One thing is certain most citizens are totally unaware of this regulation.  Business owners would be blindsided.  Enforcement?  I don't think the Commonwealth has the regulatory resources to enforce this draconian measure.  Resistance to the new regulation?  You bet!  Virginians are fed up with being told what to do  when common sense is all that is needed.

CommentID: 85210
 

9/21/20  3:35 pm
Commenter: Cathleen Cogdill

Strangling businesses will not bring them back-COVID is not permanent-stop trying to regulate it!
 

With another regulation comes another tipping point of no return. Businesses are open markets of opportunity for employees and customers alike. Virginia should not become a state of in loco parentis. We already have colleges and universities that struggle with controlling the students who did return to campus and do not live in our state for more than nine months at a time.

However, businesses are now even at MORE risk with overwhelming scrutiny  should either a consumer or employee become ill.  The pandemic is being perpetuated as permanent and businesses are caught in the Catch 22. If multiple employees test positive, the business must also report to DOLI and VDH and then wear the SCARLET 'O' - outbreak!  And with no way of really assessing the scope of that outbreak as employees are not housed by their employers.  Moving around the Commonwealth is becoming an expensive game of pinball, not knowing who bumped into whom and got what from where. Correlation does not mean causation and if every ill person's employer is under investigation-no one will ever return to work.

Can we dial it down? This is going to wreak havoc on our ability to function as the hub of businesses we all enjoy across all five regions of this great Commonwealth we all call home.

 

 

CommentID: 85211
 

9/21/20  4:30 pm
Commenter: Pamela Mashburn

Amazing power grab
 

Covid is not going to be with us Permanently, so why are proposing Permanent regulations. Are we in a Democratic Republic or a Dictatorship?

CommentID: 85214
 

9/21/20  8:42 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Excessive regulation, implementation not thought out.
 

The proposed regulation is a permanent excessive expansion of regulations for a temporary situtation.  

CommentID: 85223
 

9/21/20  9:59 pm
Commenter: Fred Schoenfeld

small businesses do not need any more regulations!
 

Please do not impose another requirement on businesses... many have closed! We know what is best for our employees and guests, we are drowning in rules and regs now... trust that businesses know the right thing to do... we do not need Richmond to make our lives any harder!!!

CommentID: 85227
 

9/22/20  5:01 am
Commenter: Anonymous

exposed individuals
 

Please define an exposed individual as outlined on page 20  "a. The employer's own employees who may have been exposed, within 24 hours of discovery of the employees possible exposure"  Are you using VDH definition of exposure or something else?  This is causing a great deal of consternation amongst employees as to who should be notified. 

CommentID: 85230
 

9/22/20  7:24 am
Commenter: Craig DiSesa

Government Malfeasance
 

I am perplexed by the extent of the regulations without any data to back-up them up. The only thing that is blatantly obvious to me is that Virginia is trying to make the poor poorer and the rich richer. These regulations are a recipe for income inequality like we have never seen before.

CommentID: 85232
 

9/22/20  10:17 am
Commenter: Ross Snare, Prince William Chamber of Commerce

Prince William Chamber is STRONGLY Opposed to DOLI Regulations becoming Permanent
 

The Prince William Chamber is STRONGLY opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Regulations becoming permanent. In a time where some reports estimate that 20-25% of businesses will close forever, these regulations threaten to drive those numbers even higher.

 

Businesses, especially small businesses, are already struggling to survive these hard economic times and these regulations only increase the burden on them. The business community had no real input when they were originally drafted and developed and when they were put in place. The regulations were developed too quickly and are incredibly broad in scope.

 

On top of these regulations, the business community also needs to follow guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and there is guidance in the CARES ACT as well. Those regulations alone change almost week to week, increasing the amount of regulations that businesses will have to adhere to will only make a hard situation more difficult.

 

We also see the DOLI Regulations dramatically increasing the amount of litigation that will go to the courts. The have created a litany of reasons for filing a lawsuit, and a majority of those reasons are based on an individual’s prospective, rather than on facts and the situation.

Making the DOLI Regulations permanent will only hurt businesses as they try to move into “the new normal” that we find ourselves adjusting too.

CommentID: 85235
 

9/22/20  11:22 am
Commenter: Jon Harman

Do Not Support Making the ETS Permanent
 

As a highway construction contractor in Virginia, I do not support the proposal to make the ETS standards permanent. While we all understand the importance of ETS during this pandemic, it is causing a significant administrative burden for us as employers, particularly in the construction industry. We are currently having to divert resources from other other positions/tasks just to manage the process, and should it become permanent, it may force companies like ours to hire additional personnel, affecting not only our competitiveness, but also the costs to the Commonwealth. Below are several reasons why we do not support this proposal:

  1. The symptoms of COVID-19 overlap with and are very similar to other common illnesses, such as the common cold and flu. However, the definition in the ETS regarding guidance of any cold/flu like symptoms is to first assume a "Presumptive positive" for COVID. This means that an employee experiencing symptoms must immediately quarantine for 10 days or until a doctor provides a written note stating that it is not a COVID concern, which doctors currently are hesitant to do. This affects use of the employees sick/vacation leave, impacts productivity, and also fosters an environment where employees could be hesitant to report symptoms or use leave they otherwise would.
  2. The ETS makes a broad, general classification of Risk for construction companies based on numbers of employees, not specifically on the type of construction or type of project sites for the employees involved.  As an example, a road construction site that is miles long with 50 employees spaced out in normal construction practices is very Low risk, but the company would be defined under a Medium risk classification.  
  3. ETS establishes company "Health officers" to become de facto certified, accredited, licensed doctors to diagnose symptoms and the health of employees. In doing so, they take on a form of liability regarding medical conditions without the required HIPAA or medical training. They also would necessarily become privy to private and personal employee health-related issues. 
  4. ETS limits the number of employees and manner of in-person training & certifications, to the point that they become unrealistic to perform virtually in the construction industry.  OSHA, MSHA and CPR/first-aid training all require, and in some cases mandate, in person instruction and physical contact that contradicts the ETS standard.  
  5. There are additional risks and safety concerns created by the broad use of face coverings with employees where the risk is low and social distancing is easily achieved.  As examples, face coverings/shields easily fog up safety glasses and create a larger safety hazard to the employee. Further, in hot weather conditions, face coverings contribute to the potential for heat-related illnesses, and worker discomfort. Face coverings also muffle the employees voice, and eliminate the visual interpretation of the person speaking. Each of these situations can affect overall worker safety.  
CommentID: 85237
 

9/22/20  11:46 am
Commenter: Lori O.

Oppose permanent standards for COVID for infectious disease prevention
 

Standards for COVID for infectious disease prevention should not be permanent. 

CommentID: 85241
 

9/22/20  11:57 am
Commenter: Dana

Oppose Permanent standards for COVID
 

Do not legislate permanent standards.  This will not be a permanent situation and we need to stop all of the back and forth and confusion.

Let's move forward.

 

CommentID: 85243
 

9/22/20  12:00 pm
Commenter: Emily Hasty, Hampton Roads Chamber

Hampton Roads Chamber Strongly Opposes Emergency Regulations Becoming Permanent
 

The Hampton Roads Chamber is a premier pro-business organization representing more than 400,000 members of Virginia's workforce. The Chamber supports public policies that strengthen free enterprise and regional collaboration efforts that promote economic development and conditions for businesses to succeed.

The Hampton Roads Chamber is strongly opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry's COVID-19 emergency regulations becoming permanent. Businesses, especially small businesses, are already struggling to survive these hard economic times and regulations only increase the burden on them. In a time where some reports estimate that 20-25% of businesses will shut down permanently, these regulations threaten to drive those numbers even higher. 

The business community had no real input when they were originally drafted, developed, and when they were put in place. The regulations were developed too quickly and are incredibly broad in scope. 

On top of these regulations, the business community also follows guidelines from the CDC, OSHA, and guidance specified in the CARES Act. Those regulations alone change almost week to week. Increasing the number of regulations that businesses will have to adhere to, will only make a hard situation more difficult. 

The DOLI Regulations will dramatically increasing the amount of litigation that will go to the courts. They create a litany of reasons for filing a lawsuit, and a majority of those reasons are based on an individual's perspective, rather than on the facts. Making the DOLI Regulations permanent will only hurt businesses as they try to move into "the new normal" that we find ourselves adjusting to.

While facing devastating economic conditions Virginia's businesses continue to keep the safety and health of their employees as their top priority. We respectfully request that you reject the proposed permanent emergency regulations.

CommentID: 85244
 

9/22/20  12:04 pm
Commenter: Mark Gilvey

STRONGLY OPPOSED
 
The Prince William Chamber is STRONGLY opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Regulations becoming Permanent. In a time where some reports estimate that 20-25% of businesses will close forever, these regulations threaten to drive those numbers even higher.
 
Businesses, especially small businesses, are already struggling to survive these hard economic times and these regulations only increase the burden on them. The business community had no real input when they were originally drafted and developed and when they were put in place. The regulations were developed too quickly and are incredibly broad in scope. 
 
On top of these regulations, the business community also needs to follow guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and there is guidance in the CARES ACT as well. Those regulations alone change almost week to week, increasing the amount of regulations that businesses will have to adhere to will only make a hard situation more difficult. 
 
We also see the DOLI Regulations dramatically increasing the amount of litigation that will go to the courts. The have created a litany of reasons for filing a lawsuit, and a majority of those reasons are based on an individual’s prospective, rather than on facts and the situation.
Making the DOLI Regulations permanent will only hurt businesses as they try to move into “the new normal” that we find ourselves adjusting too. 
 
We STRONGLY encourage all businesses to comment on the public comment page and request that the Board NOT make these Regulations Permanent! 
 
You can have your voice heard by clicking on the button below and making your own comment or by copying this message and pasting it into the public comment section.
CommentID: 85245
 

9/22/20  12:06 pm
Commenter: Brenda Straits Moffett Paving & Excavating Corp

Oppose making ETS permanent
 

I oppose making the current ETS, in it's current form, permanent.  It puts too much of a burden on small businesses that are already hurting from the shutdown due to Covid-19.  It goes too far in making some things mandatory that should be up to the business what they do and not do.  Another power grab by an already too powerful government.  

CommentID: 85246
 

9/22/20  12:14 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Strongly Oppose COVID-19 Regulations becoming permanent
 
The Prince William Chamber is STRONGLY opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Regulations becoming Permanent. In a time where some reports estimate that 20-25% of businesses will close forever, these regulations threaten to drive those numbers even higher.
 
Businesses, especially small businesses, are already struggling to survive these hard economic times and these regulations only increase the burden on them. The business community had no real input when they were originally drafted and developed and when they were put in place. The regulations were developed too quickly and are incredibly broad in scope.
 
On top of these regulations, the business community also needs to follow guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and there is guidance in the CARES ACT as well. Those regulations alone change almost week to week, increasing the amount of regulations that businesses will have to adhere to will only make a hard situation more difficult.
 
We also see the DOLI Regulations dramatically increasing the amount of litigation that will go to the courts. The have created a litany of reasons for filing a lawsuit, and a majority of those reasons are based on an individual’s prospective, rather than on facts and the situation.
Making the DOLI Regulations permanent will only hurt businesses as they try to move into “the new normal” that we find ourselves adjusting too.
CommentID: 85247
 

9/22/20  12:14 pm
Commenter: Janine, Prince William Chamber of Commerce

Strongly Oppose
 

As a member of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, I support their position of strong opposition, as follows:

The Prince William Chamber is STRONGLY opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Regulations becoming Permanent. In a time where some reports estimate that 20-25% of businesses will close forever, these regulations threaten to drive those numbers even higher.
 
Businesses, especially small businesses, are already struggling to survive these hard economic times and these regulations only increase the burden on them. The business community had no real input when they were originally drafted and developed and when they were put in place. The regulations were developed too quickly and are incredibly broad in scope.
 
On top of these regulations, the business community also needs to follow guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and there is guidance in the CARES ACT as well. Those regulations alone change almost week to week, increasing the amount of regulations that businesses will have to adhere to will only make a hard situation more difficult.
 
We also see the DOLI Regulations dramatically increasing the amount of litigation that will go to the courts. The have created a litany of reasons for filing a lawsuit, and a majority of those reasons are based on an individual’s prospective, rather than on facts and the situation.
Making the DOLI Regulations permanent will only hurt businesses as they try to move into “the new normal” that we find ourselves adjusting too.
 
We STRONGLY encourage all businesses to comment on the public comment page and request that the Board NOT make these Regulations Permanent!
 
Let's protect our freedom of speech and opportunities provided with free market capitalism that allow for small business to thrive and contribute to localized economy supporting community, individuals and families.
CommentID: 85248
 

9/22/20  12:15 pm
Commenter: Andrea Van Wambeke

Opposed to Permanent Infectious Disease Standards
 

As a business in the hospitality community, we are strongly opposed to making requirements for infectious diseases permanent. None of our businesses were built to withstand constant restrictions like the ones we've seen over the last few months. We are all barely hanging on, and trying to make it through to a day when we can return to a more normal state of operations. We understand that COVID is a serious disease that requires alterations and increased safety requirements. However, we cannot withstand these requirements being made permanent and continuing past the immediate COVID threat. 

Thank you, 

Andrea Van Wambeke

CommentID: 85249
 

9/22/20  12:21 pm
Commenter: Gayle Whitlock, Prince William Chamber of Commerce Chair-Elect

The Prince William Chamber is STRONGLY opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Re
 

 

The Prince William Chamber is STRONGLY opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Regulations becoming Permanent. In a time where some reports estimate that 20-25% of businesses will close forever, these regulations threaten to drive those numbers even higher.

 

Businesses, especially small businesses, are already struggling to survive these hard economic times and these regulations only increase the burden on them. The business community had no real input when they were originally drafted and developed and when they were put in place. The regulations were developed too quickly and are incredibly broad in scope.

 

On top of these regulations, the business community also needs to follow guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and there is guidance in the CARES ACT as well. Those regulations alone change almost week to week, increasing the amount of regulations that businesses will have to adhere to will only make a hard situation more difficult.

 

We also see the DOLI Regulations dramatically increasing the amount of litigation that will go to the courts. The have created a litany of reasons for filing a lawsuit, and a majority of those reasons are based on an individual’s prospective, rather than on facts and the situation.

Making the DOLI Regulations permanent will only hurt businesses as they try to move into “the new normal” that we find ourselves adjusting too.

 

CommentID: 85250
 

9/22/20  12:23 pm
Commenter: Coldwell Banker NOW

Strongly oppose
 

The proposal ignores the realities of small business needs and operations.

CommentID: 85251
 

9/22/20  12:25 pm
Commenter: NOEL SWEENEY

VERY VERY OPPOSED TO PERMANENT INFECTIOUS DISEASE STANDARDS
 

As a business in the hospitality community, we are strongly opposed to making requirements for infectious diseases permanent. None of our businesses were built to withstand constant restrictions like the ones we've seen over the last few months. We are all barely hanging on, and trying to make it through to a day when we can return to a more normal state of operations. We understand that COVID is a serious disease that requires alterations and increased safety requirements. However, we cannot withstand these requirements being made permanent and continuing past the immediate COVID threat.

Thank you, 

Andrea Van Wambeke

CommentID: 85252
 

9/22/20  12:25 pm
Commenter: Steve Daves, R.W. Murray Co.

Strongly Opposed
 

I am STRONGLY opposed to the Department of Labor and Industry’s Temporary COVID-19 Regulations becoming permanent

Businesses, especially small businesses, are already struggling to survive during the current pandemic and the current challenging economic climate.  These regulations only increase the burden on businesses without providing studied, documented and proven safety protections. The business community had no real input when they were originally drafted and developed and when they were put in place. The regulations were developed too quickly and have not been in place long enough to study/determine the effectiveness of the requirements.  Now is not the time to make them permanent. 

CommentID: 85253
 

9/22/20  12:48 pm
Commenter: Heidi Wulf Realtor with RE/MAX

Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Regulations becoming permanent
 

Worst thing you can do!  I strong appose!

CommentID: 85254
 

9/22/20  1:18 pm
Commenter: Ning Cappella, LLC

Strongly Opposed - setting up small business for bankruptcy
 

This could bankrupt a small employer who has fewer than 25 employees. To pay all this sick pay plus hire a temporary person to do the work is an overwhelming burden.

CommentID: 85256
 

9/22/20  1:22 pm
Commenter: susan Jacobs

I STRONLY OPPOSED
 

I STRONLY  OPPOSED to the Department of Labor and Industry’s COVID-19 Regulations becoming Permanent. STOP HURTING OUR BSUINESS COMMUNITY 

CommentID: 85257
 

9/22/20  1:33 pm
Commenter: Jonathan Barbour, R.W. Murray

Strongly Opposed
 

Strongly opposed to these measures remaining in place. 

 

CommentID: 85258
 

9/22/20  1:34 pm
Commenter: Barry DuVal, Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Opposed to Permanent Standard
 

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:

 

  1. Amend § 10G to the agency’s original language providing “safe harbor” for employers who follow CDC and OSHA guidance.

 

  1. Strike the vague language mandating “flexible” sick leave policies.  It is unconstitutionally vague and it exceeds the agency’s statutory authority.

 

  1. Strike requirements of owners of buildings and facilities to report COVID cases to employer tenants.  It exceeds the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act to require employers to provide employment and a place of employment that is free of recognized hazards.

 

  1. Remove hand sanitizer as a requirement. Everywhere else, it is a substitute or a best practice.

 

  1. Change language to apply hazard levels to job tasks instead of employers or industries.

 

  1. Change the time-based return-to-work rule requiring three days of being symptom-free (following the ten-day period since the onset of symptoms) to one, consistent with the new CDC standard.

 

  1. Eliminate the requirement to report positive cases to the Department of Health.  Health care providers are already doing this.      

 

  1. Eliminate the redundant language regarding employee refusal to work because they feel unsafe. The criteria for protected work refusals are already in the Administrative Regulatory Manual.

 

  1. Define “minimal contact.”

 

  1. Eliminate requirements to include business considerations (e.g., how to handle supply chain issues, cross-training to prepare for staff shortages) that have nothing to do with employee safety.

 

  1. Ensure this regulation sunsets with the Governor’s State of Emergency the way the ETS does.

 

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.

 

Best regards,

 

 

 

Barry E. DuVal

President and CEO

CommentID: 85259
 

9/22/20  1:40 pm
Commenter: John Massingill

No, a thousand times no.
 

I echo these comments

"We already have four dragons breathing down our necks telling us what to do and what not to do (...[the] County Health Dept., VDH, CDC, the Governor’s Executive Orders). My god, we can’t even run our business for all the none-stop minutia raining down on us. The last thing we need is yet another (5th) dragon breathing down our necks …. telling us what to do. WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!  Stop this insanity now!!!"

Get the boot of the Commonwealth off of small business' neck.  

CommentID: 85261