Work Safe Information

UPDATE ON NEW WORK SAFE ADDITIONS TO THE BE SMART, STAY SAFE ORDER

April 2nd MEMO from Agency of Commerce & Community Development:

As Vermont continues its work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce the spread of the virus, keep Vermonters working, and keep our children in school, our mitigation strategy is constantly evolving.

To that end, the following is required of all Vermonters, visitors, and businesses per the Governor’s Executive Order:

Critical Updates – Effective until further notice.

  1. There are currently limitations on household gatherings in Vermont. Vaccinated individuals or households may gather with other vaccinated individuals or households.For individuals and households who are not fully vaccinated, social gatherings indoors and outdoors in private spaces are limited to two unvaccinated households or individuals at one time, PLUS any fully vaccinated households. Unvaccinated households or individuals may gather with more than one other unvaccinated household or individual, as long as it is just two unvaccinated households or individuals at any one gathering.
  2. Effective 3/24/21: Bars and social clubs may operate under the restaurant guidance at section 7.1.
  3. All businesses and organizations that serve the public and host organized non-essential activities shall maintain an easily accessible, legible log of all employees, customers, members and guests and their contact information, including name, address, phone number and email address for 30 days in the event contact tracing is required by VDH. For the sake of clarity, this requirement applies to all employees and all guests in every party.
  4. Businesses are required to use remote work or telework whenever possible, including making use of teleconferencing and video conferencing to avoid in person meetings.
  5. All recreational sports activities are subject to Section 9.1 of this guidance, including youth leagues, adult leagues (including bowling leagues, soccer, etc.), practices, games and tournaments. Outdoor recreation and fitness activities are subject to Section 4.1.
  6. Contact tracing cooperation: Vermonters who have been identified as a case or a close contact are required to:
    1. Promptly answer calls or otherwise respond to the VDH Contact Tracing Team;
    2. Provide full, complete and truthful information concerning places they have been, activities they have engaged in and persons with whom the individual has had close contact, including contact information when possible;
    3. Comply with all VDH recommended quarantine and isolation periods and testing.
  7. All college students returning home from any college campus in state or out of state are required to quarantine upon return home AND are encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 test on Day 7.

MANDATORY HEALTH & SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL BUSINESS, NON-PROFIT & GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

All businesses must follow Vermont Department of Health and CDC guidelines:

  • Employees shall not report to, or be allowed to remain at, work or job site if sick or symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea).
  • Employees must observe strict social distancing of 6 feet while on the job.  Businesses and non-profit or government entities shall ensure customers observe strict social distancing of 6 feet while on location, to the extent possible.
  • Limit the occupancy of designated common areas, such as break rooms and cafeterias, so that occupants maintain strict social distancing of no less than 6 feet per individual. The employer shall enforce the occupancy limit and require employees to wipe down their area after use or shall ensure cleaning of the common areas at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Employees must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others. In the case of retail cashiers, a translucent shield or “sneeze guard” is acceptable in lieu of a mask if the employee works alone and does not interact with customers outside the work station.
  • Businesses, non-profit and government entities may decline service to individuals who are not wearing a mask. This includes refusing service to those who are exempt from the mask mandate, however, the business shall provide an alternate way for those unable to wear a mask to access the business, such as offering curbside pick-up, delivery, or other innovative solutions.
  • Employees must have easy and frequent access to soap and water or hand sanitizer during duration of work, and handwashing or hand sanitization is required frequently including before entering, and leaving, job sites.
  • All common spaces (when open) and equipment, including bathrooms, frequently touched surfaces and doors, tools and equipment, and vehicles must be cleaned regularly and, when possible, prior to transfer from one person to another, in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • Prior to the commencement of each work shift, all employees (except those that work alone and have no contact with other people during their shift such as those who work from home remotely) shall complete a health survey either in-person at the worksite or prior to arriving at the worksite. This screening survey shall require an employee to verify that he or she has no symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) before they enter the workplace. It is strongly recommended that a temperature check be conducted by the employee at home or a non-contact temperature check be conducted by the employer or the employee at the worksite. Employers may create systems that work best for their unique operations – but must be able to demonstrate, if asked by employees or state health officials, that all employees have been pre-screened for symptoms before they enter the workplace.
  • Signs must be posted at all entrances clearly indicating that no one may enter if they have symptoms of respiratory illness.
  • All businesses and organizations that serve the public and host organized non-essential activities shall maintain an easily accessible, legible log of all employees, customers, members and guests and their contact information, including name, address, phone number and email address for 30 days in the event contact tracing is required by VDH. For the sake of clarity, this requirement applies to all employees and all guests in every party.
  • When working inside, open doors and windows to promote air flow to the greatest extent possible and limit the number of people occupying a single indoor space.
  • No more than 3 people shall occupy one vehicle when conducting work. Mass transit, taxis, ridesharing, and public safety are exempt from this rule.
  • No symptomatic or COVID-19 positive workers are allowed on site and any worker(s) who have close contact for more than 15 minutes with a worker or any other person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days. See the Department of Health’s guidance on work place exposures.
  • All operations shall designate a health officer on-site at every shift responsible for ensuring compliance with the Executive Order and the Addenda thereto and applicable ACCD Guidance.  This person shall have the authority to stop or modify activities to ensure work conforms with the mandatory health and safety requirements.
  • All businesses and non-profit and government entities shall encourage and facilitate telework among those employees with the capacity to work remotely when practical without impeding productivity. Employers shall use their best efforts to accommodate the needs of high risk individuals, those workers who may have child care needs which cannot be met due to the closure of schools or child care facilities for reasons relating to COVID-19 and those individuals with concerns about personal health circumstances.
  • All employees, including those already working (except healthcare workers, first responders, and others already trained in infection control, personal protection/universal precautions), must complete, and employers must document, a training on mandatory health and safety requirements as provided by VOSHA, or another training program that meets or exceeds the VOSHA-provided standard. Employers who need translations of the training have one week from the release of the translated training to complete this requirement.
  • All businesses that have been closed for 7 or more days during the state of emergency must complete and keep on file a reopening and training plan (businesses with fewer than 10 employees at any physical location are not required to create such a plan, however, they must follow all other guidelines and employees must take the VOSHA training). VOSHA and the Agency of Commerce have provided a template at https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business/restart. The plan must, at a minimum:
    • Adopt a phased approach to reopening which provides sufficient opportunity to operate first in a low density and low contact environment before making the incremental changes needed to accommodate more moderate density activity while continuing to maintain health and safety.
    • Update physical and administrative safety systems to accommodate COVID-19 VDH/CDC/VOSHA guidelines, health monitoring, including temperature checks, cleaning and sanitizing methods and physical distancing measures.
    • Take appropriate measures to protect employees at greater risk of contact by virtue of their occupational role or setting.
    • Businesses with fewer than 10 employees at any physical location are not required to create such a plan, however, they must follow all other health and safety guidelines above including taking VOSHA training.
  • For all mass transit CUSTOMERS/ RIDERS (in addition to the mandatory requirement for operators and staff) face coverings are mandatory on public transit conveyances and in stations and terminals. Private charter buses and large multi-passenger vans should only be used if density is reduced to allow for social distancing. This includes reducing capacity to 50 percent, leaving every other seat empty, and every other row open. Cloth face coverings must be worn. K-12 school transportation services shall follow guidance included in the Agency of Education’s Strong and Healthy Start guidance.

ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL BUSINESS, NON-PROFIT AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

  • Use of shared workspaces, desks, offices, etc. is discouraged to the maximum extent practicable.
  • Face-to-face staff meetings should be limited, and physical distancing must be observed.
  • Consider staggered work shifts, break times, etc. and expanding hours to reduce number of individuals working together and reduce contact with members of the public.
  • To the extent possible, provide access to hand washing and/or hand sanitizer for vendors, and customers.
  • Limit staff travel between multiple sites.
  • Ensure a safe process to receive supplies and deliveries.
  • Consider accommodations for employees at higher risk from COVID-19 infection (as currently defined by the CDC) to work remotely or have a job tasks that minimize public interaction.

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act

Consider how the re-opening process and operational changes might impact compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The health and safety guidance provided by ACCD does not negate any obligations as outlined by the ADA. Refer to A Primer for Small Business for additional information.

BUSINESS CUSTOMER & GENERAL PUBLIC MASK USE

As of Saturday, August 1, 2020, Vermonters and visitors are required to wear masks or cloth facial coverings over their nose and mouth any time they are in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where they come in contact with others from outside their households, especially in congregate settings, and where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.

Masks or cloth facial coverings are not required when someone is engaged in strenuous exercise or activity, for anyone under the age of 2, any child or adult with a medical or developmental issue or challenge that is complicated or irritated by a facial covering, anyone with difficulty breathing or as further set forth in guidance issued by VDH. A person who declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical or developmental issue, or difficulty breathing, shall not be required to produce documentation, or other evidence, verifying the condition.

Businesses and non-profit and government entities shall implement measures notifying customers or clients of the requirement to wear masks or facial coverings, which may include, but shall not be limited to, posting signage stating that masks or cloth facial coverings are required and denial of entry or service to customers or clients who decline to wear masks or facial coverings.

For the text of the order establishing the mask requirement, read the Executive Order.

CROSS STATE TRAVEL

Anyone returning to or traveling to Vermont must follow Vermont’s mandatory quarantine policy as outlined below.

Travelers visiting Vermont or returning to Vermont must adhere to the quarantine guidelines:

  • Travelers arriving in Vermont or returning to Vermont in a personal vehicle must complete either a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative test in their home state or upon arrival in Vermont.
  • Travelers arriving to Vermont who have not completed a pre-arrival quarantine must complete either a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative test upon arrival in Vermont (such as at a Vermont lodging establishment). (Travelers must stay in their quarantine location for the duration of quarantine other than to travel to and from a test site.)
  • If you have been vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine to travel to Vermont or return to Vermont, as long as at least 14 days have passed since you received your final vaccine dose.

The State of Vermont has suspended all social gatherings between multiple households. Travelers may not stay with a Vermont host or stay in a Vermont lodging establishment or short-term rental with another household, except that a vaccinated individual or household may stay with a single non-vaccinated household.

If you are not vaccinated you may not gather with another household in Vermont even if you have completed a quarantine. (Individuals who live alone may gather with no more than one other household.)

Vermonters must remember to follow any travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for the states they plan to visit.

Read more about quarantining at the Vermont Department of Health website.

Residents of communities within five miles of a Vermont border with a neighboring state should consult the travel FAQ for additional guidance.

All out of state travelers utilizing lodging, camping and short-term rental properties in Vermont must sign and complete a Certificate of Compliance or affirm a compliance statement via a digital check box at the time of reservation and check-in to attest that they meet the quarantine requirement or are an essential/authorized worker.

All out of state travelers are strongly encouraged to register with Sara Alert upon arrival to Vermont to get two weeks of daily reminders to check for common symptoms of COVID-19.

People traveling for essential purposes, including work, do not need to quarantine. Essential travel includes travel for personal safety, medical care, care of others, parental shared custody, for food, beverage or medicine, to attend preK-12 school if commuting daily, or to perform work for businesses that are currently allowed to operate. The current State of Emergency requires employers to use remote work and telework whenever possible to avoid unnecessary work travel. Businesses and employees must only travel for work related trips when absolutely necessary. Individuals engaged in a daily commute to and from their job are expressly exempt from the need to quarantine by Executive Order.

Persons should not travel to, from, or within Vermont if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if they meet the criteria for needing to Isolate or Quarantine.

Please review the travel FAQ.

PHASED RESTART

Operations deemed “essential” may continue to operate under pre-existing guidance with the addition of the mandatory health and safety requirements above.  

To safely reopen certain operations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and not defined as essential, Governor Scott has directed the Agency of Commerce – in consultation with the Department of Health and the Department of Public Safety – to authorize, subject to mandatory health and safety requirements listed above and additional sector specific guidance found here:
Update on New Work Safe Additions to the Be Smart, Stay Safe Order | Agency of Commerce and Community Development (vermont.gov)

Regarding Town Offices:

  • Services operating with a single worker or small office environments (such as appraisers, realtors, municipal clerks, attorneys, property managers, pet care operators, and others) may operate if they can comply with the mandatory health and safety requirements listed above, and the mandatory maximum occupancy limits (currently 50 percent fire safety capacity, 1 person per 100 square feet, and a maximum of 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors).
  • Remote work is required whenever possible. 
  • Operators must maintain a log of customers and their contact information for 30 days in the event contact tracing is required by the Health Department. 

13.1 Meetings of Public Bodies:

During the State of Emergency, organizations should conduct regular meetings remotely such as regular select board meetings and school board meetings whenever possible to prevent prolonged interactions between households.