Virginia Rescinds COVID-19 Standard

Nearly two years after enacting the first-in-the-nation permanent COVID-19 workplace safety and health standard, the Commonwealth voted effective March 23 to rescind mandatory face coverings and certain reporting requirements.

Previous guidelines were:

  • Assess the “exposure risk level” of hazards at each place of employment
  • Report to the Virginia Department of Health if two or more employees test positive for COVID-19 within 14-days
  • Exclude employees from work who are known/suspected to be infected
  • Notify employees when a worker is known to be infected by COVID-19
  • A “face covering” must be worn over the nose and mouth by employees

Update guidelines include:

  • Facilitate employees’ getting vaccinated and boosted
  • Encourage any workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work and seek testing / treatment from their physician.
  • Provide workers with face coverings or surgical masks, as appropriate
  • Encourage good sanitary work habits such as frequent hand washing
  • Educate workers on COVID-19 policies and procedures
  • Record and report COVID-19 infections and deaths, which is mandatory under Virginia Occupational Safety & Health Administration (VOSH) regulations

Though some guidelines have been relaxed, Virginia employers are obligated to follow Virginia Occupational Safety & Health Administration (VOSH) General Duty Clause, “to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”   VOSH can continue to inspect and cite employers for COVID-19-related safety concerns.