While many Virginia businesses have remained open since the pandemic was declared, others have been restricted from operating due to Virginia’s various Executive Orders. As of June 12, 2020, many restrictions are being eased as Northern Virginia and other regions finally enter into Phase 2 of Virginia’s reopening plan.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers provide a workplace “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” In the context of COVID-19, OSHA is advising employers to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by taking temperatures, providing personal protective equipment, adding barriers, social distancing, sanitizing surfaces, etc.
In the face of reopening your business multiple issues including formulating return to work plans, which may include a number of best practices per current guidance, as well as concerns regarding potential employer liability for a worker contracting the coronavirus, the illness caused by COVID-19, may need to be addressed.
While operating risks can never be eliminated, businesses can minimize their risks by following CDC guidance, and they can help employees feel comfortable by clearly and consistently communicating about the safety measures they are implementing, how the measures help, and what workers should do if they have questions or concerns.
We have helped several of our commercial clients develop reopening protocols and strategies. If you need help with your business reopening plan or related issues in connection with a reopening, please contact attorney Wendy Alexander for assistance at (703) 680-4664.