October 2, 2022

Volume XII, Number 275


September 30, 2022

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Virginia Revokes State-Wide COVID-19 Workplace Standard

We’ve reported on Virginia’s first-in-the-nation, state-wide, permanent COVID-19 workplace standard. Last month, concluding that COVID-19 “no longer poses a ‘grave danger’ to employees,” the state’s Safety and Health Codes Board voted to revoke it. The revocation took effect on March 23d.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin applauded the move.

Businesses asked us for updated workplace guidance to reflect our current COVID-19 situation in Virginia. We are pleased with the board’s move, and this vote signals that a return to normalcy in Virginia is not a partisan issue. We will continue providing greater certainty and decision making power to businesses and workers in the Commonwealth as we move beyond the pandemic. With the removal of these regulations, it is undeniable that Virginia is open for business.

In a related development, last month, Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry issued guidance aimed at mitigating the risk of COVID-19 to workers. The guidance reiterates that employers must provide a safe and healthy workplace free of recognized hazards likely to cause death and serious physical harm. Also, it encourages employers to engage with workers to stem COVID-19 transmission and impact, such as by:

  • facilitating employees getting vaccinated and boosted;

  • encouraging workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work and seek advice on testing and treatment from their physicians;

  • requiring workers infected with COVID-19 to stay home;

  • providing workers with face coverings or surgical masks, as appropriate;

  • encouraging good sanitary work habits such as frequent handwashing;

  • educating workers regarding the employer’s COVID-19 policies and procedures using accessible formats and languages that they understand;

  • operating and maintaining ventilation systems in accordance with manufacturer specifications to achieve optimal performance;

  • recording and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths, consistent with Virginia law; and

  • following all applicable state Occupational Health standards.

© 2022 ArentFox Schiff LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 102

About this Author

Henry Morris Jr. Labor Education Attorney ArentFox Schiff Washington DC

Henry's matters have involved student rights, faculty rights, fair labor standard (including collective and class actions), equal employment opportunity, employee discipline and discharge, employment torts, breach of contract, trade secrets, non-compete agreements, plant closings, reductions-in-force, successor employer responsibilities, workers’ compensation, and unemployment compensation. Henry is a member of ArentFox Schiff’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Henry represents clients in a wide range of industries, including  education,...