Safer at home: Phase One Guidelines for all business sectors

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

Below is an overview of what restrictions will look like under Phase I of the Governor's Forward Virginia plan. The Governor has not yet made a final decision on the date for the state's plan to reopen nor has he made a final decision on when northern Virginia will reopen.  Local NOVA county officials prefer to establish a reopening coordinated as a Metro Region Plan most particularly because COVID-19 cases are not decreasing across our region. 

Safer at Home

  • Physical Distancing Best Practices:  Establish policies and practices for physical distancing between co-workers and between members of the public. (See sector-specific guidelines below for more detailed information on public engagement.)
  • Provide clear communication and signage for physical distancing in areas where individuals may congregate, especially at entrances, in seating areas, and in check-out lines.
  • Limit the occupancy of physical spaces to ensure that adequate physical distancing may be maintained. (See sector-specific guidelines for more detailed information.)
  • Encourage telework whenever possible.  For those businesses where telework is not feasible, temporarily move or stagger workstations to ensure six feet of separation between co-workers and between members of the public. Where possible, employees and customers should utilize face coverings. (See CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance for more detailed information).
  • Where six feet of physical distance is not possible in a given business setting, employers should provide face covering to employees, such as utilizing the CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.  Limit in-person work-related gatherings, including conferences, trade shows, and trainings.
  • When in-person meetings need to occur, keep meetings as short as possible, limit the number of employees in attendance, and use physical distancing practices.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Best Practices:

  • Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of high contact areas and hard surfaces, including check out stations and payment pads, store entrance push/pull pads, door knobs/handles, dining tables/chairs, light switches, handrails, restrooms, floors, and equipment.  Follow CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection and use an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean. For high contact areas, routinely disinfect surfaces at least every 2 hours. Certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.   To the extent tools or equipment must be shared, provide access to and instruct workers to use an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean items before and after use.
  • Provide a place for employees and customers to wash hands with soap and water, or provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol. (See sector-specific guidelines for more detailed information.)
  • When developing staff schedules, implement additional short breaks to increase the frequency with which staff can wash hands with soap and water. Alternatively, consider providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol so that workers can frequently sanitize their hands.
  • Provide best hygiene practices to employees on a regular basis, including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and practicing respiratory etiquette protocols. A CDC training video is available here:

Enhanced Workplace Safety Best Practices:

  • Prior to a shift and on days employees are scheduled to work, employers should screen employees prior to starting work. Employees should also self-monitor their symptoms by self-taking of temperature to check for fever and utilizing the questions provided in the VDH Interim Guidance for COVID -19 Daily Screening of Employees before reporting to work. For employers with established occupational health programs, employers can consider measuring temperature and assessing symptoms of employees prior to starting work/before each shift. CDC considers a person to have a fever when he or she has a measured temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or greater, feels warm to the touch, or gives a history of feeling feverish. 
  • Implement practices such as those described in Virginia Department of Health Interim Guidance for COVID -19 Daily Screening of Employees for examples of a screening questionnaire. A sample symptom monitoring log is available in this Interim Guidance.
  • Instruct employees who are sick to stay at home and not report to work. If an employee becomes ill or presents signs of illness, follow CDC What to Do if You Are Sick guidance. Employers should post signage in the common languages of the employees telling employees not to come to work when sick.
  • Develop or adopt flexible sick leave policies to ensure that sick employees do not report to work. Policies should allow employees to stay home if they are sick with COVID-19, if they need to self-quarantine due to exposure, and if they need to care for a sick family member. Employers should recommend that employees follow CDC guidance on If You Are Sick or Caring For Someone.
  • Some employees are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These vulnerable employees include individuals over age 65 and those with underlying medical conditions. Vulnerable employees should be encouraged to self-identify and employers should take particular care to reduce their risk of exposure, while making sure to be compliant with relevant Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) regulations.
  1. Consider offering vulnerable employees duties that minimize their contact with customers and other employees (e.g., restocking shelves rather than working as a cashier), if agreed to by the employee.

    2. Protect employees at higher risk for severe illness by supporting and encouraging options to telework.

    3.  If implementing health checks, conduct them safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations. Confidentiality should be respected.

    4.  Other information on civil rights protections for workers related to COVID-19 is available on the website.  

  • Designate a staff person to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Employees should know who this person is and how to contact them.
  • Implement staggered shifts for both work periods and break periods. Consider cohort scheduling where groups of employees only work with employees in their group.
  • Limit the number of employees in break rooms and stagger breaks to discourage gatherings.
  • Use messaging boards or digital messaging for pre-shift meeting information.
  • If the building has not been occupied for the last 7 days, there are additional public health considerations that should be considered, such as taking measures to ensure the safety of your building water system. However, it is not necessary to clean ventilation systems other than routine maintenance as part of reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission.
  • Establish a relationship with your local health department and know who to contact for questions.For healthcare facilities, additional guidance is provided on CDC’s Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities.

  • Continued on Printable Instructions Below for Restaurants and Beverage Service


Reopening of Northern Virginia Will Be Delayed 
Gov. Northam has agreed that Northern Virginia will not enter Phase One Reopening on the same schedule as the rest of the state.    According to a letter sent by elected leaders from Northern Virginia’s five largest jurisdictions.....the counties of Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William and Loudoun plus Alexandria (which collectively represent nearly 2.4 million residents), these jurisdictions are unwilling to lift restrictions just yet. Almost three quarters of the 1,000 newly reported cases on May 11th are clustered in Northern Virginia which accounts for 40% of the state's population.   A new schedule with exact dates has not been announced.

Letter from elected officials to Gov. Northam

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