Employment Law Alert – Workplace COVID-19 Protocols Revoked
By Robert J. Barry, Labor & Employment
As expected, on March 21, 2022, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board (Codes Board) met and voted to revoke 16 VAC 25-220, commonly called the Final Permanent Standard. In so doing, the Codes Board adopted findings and recommendations coming from Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH), a division of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. Importantly, the revocation means masks are no longer required in Virginia workplaces.
The Codes Board received over 1,300 comments following its February 16, 2022, meeting inviting public input on the Standard. The comments overwhelmingly supported a preliminary VOSH finding that COVID-19 no longer poses a grave danger to Virginia employees. The complex Standard, imposed in August of 2020 and revised in January 2021, was the first of its kind in the nation.
Effective with today’s newspaper publication, the entire Standard was revoked. Virginia employers may still implement voluntary mitigation measures, but they cannot require masks to be worn by visitors or customers in public and retail establishments. The VOSH requirement to provide employees with a safe workplace, including the availability of personal protective equipment, remains in effect to the same extent as before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The contents of this publication are intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts and circumstances. Copyright 2023.