Safer at home phase three guidelines for all business sectors

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guidelines for all business sectors

Physical Distancing Best Practices:

Establish policies and practices for maintaining appropriate physical distance between persons not living in the same Family as defined in Fifth Amended Executive Order 72. (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.

Limit in-person work-related gatherings 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. Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, desks, phones, light switches, and faucets, should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. Follow CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection and use an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean.

To the extent tools or equipment must be shared, provide access to and instruct workers to use an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean items.

Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers. Additional hand hygiene requirements for Virginia employees and employers can be found in the Department of Labor and Industry's Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARSCoV-2 Virus that Causes COVID-19. Further hand hygiene guidance can be found on the CDC website. A CDC training video is available here: .

Provide best hygiene practices to employees on a regular basis, including practicing respiratory etiquette protocols.

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 they have 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 VDH 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.

Individuals must wear masks over their nose and mouth in accordance with Section II of Fifth Amended Executive Order 72.

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 have a positive diagnostic test for the virus that causes 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 COVID19 is available here.

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 seven 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.

Resources to print and display:

CDC Symptoms English

Spanish CDC Symptoms

CDC Printable Flyer English

CDC Printable Flyer Spanish

CDC Printable Flyer Chinese

CDC Printable Flyer Korean

CDC Printable Flyer Vietnamese

FDA information

What Grocery Store and Food Retail Workers Need to Know about COVID-19

CDC Re-Opening America Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes

CDC What You Need to Know About Handwashing VIDEO


guidelines for social gatherings

Best practices:

In addition to the best practices in the "Guidelines for All Business Sectors" document, social gatherings should consider the following best practices:

Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, if they have a positive diagnostic test for the virus that causes COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment.

Post signage at the entrance of all indoor areas stating that patrons must wear a mask in accordance with Fifth Amended Executive Order 72.

Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high-risk individuals, and staying home if sick (samples at bottom of this document).

Social gatherings should be limited to no more than 50 participants for gatherings held indoors. Social gatherings held outdoors should be limited to no more than 100 participants.

Individuals must wear masks over their nose and mouth in accordance with Section II of Fifth Amended Executive Order 72.

Limit the occupancy of spaces to ensure that six feet of physical distance can be maintained between all organizers, staff, volunteers, and attendees who are not members of the same Family as defined in Fifth Amended Executive Order 72.

Reconfigure seating areas to allow six feet of physical distance between individuals by eliminating or closing select tables or seating areas, or by spreading them out to allow for adequate spacing. Maintain ten feet of physical distance when attendees will be participating in activities that increase respiration, including exercising, swimming, cheering, or singing.

Ensure exits are configured to reduce the occurrence of bottlenecks at the conclusion of the event.


Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of high contact areas and hard surfaces, including check out stations and payment pads, store entrance push and pull pads, door knobs and handles, dining tables and chairs, light switches, handrails, restrooms, guest lockers, floors, and equipment. Follow CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection and use an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean. For high contact areas (e.g., in both public and staff areas), routinely disinfect surfaces. Certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.

Social gatherings should not include close contact between gathering organizers, staff, and attendees not from the same Family as defined in Fifth Amended Executive Order 72. Discontinue activities such as face-painting, temporary tattoo application, or audience participation with performers.

Events that cannot restrict access to the general public should not take place.

Where applicable, organizers must create a participant flow plan of modified queue lines to and within the mass gathering. Determine areas likely to become bottlenecks or pinch points and adjust participant flow accordingly.

Where applicable, install visible markers for queue lines that separate people by six feet of physical distance. Provide physical guides to seating areas including floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate where attendees should not sit, stand, or congregate. Sample markers are available in the VDH Business Toolkit.

Do not include side events as part of the gathering in order to reduce the areas in which groups will congregate. These are events associated with but located outside of the formal gathering location, such as souvenir vending stations, gaming areas, petting zoos, and designated food truck areas.

Designate a coordinator who will be responsible for identifying COVID-19 related issues and their impact on the gathering, including coordinating health preparedness for the event and emergency response planning.

Develop an emergency and medical response plan for COVID-19. This plan should include information about how attendees should interface with the local healthcare system (who to speak with or call if they feel sick) and procedures for isolating sick attendees and reporting illnesses to event organizers. The response plan must also include a plan for organizers to notify the local health department and all participants if any exposure to COVID-19 occurs at the event.


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