On July 15, the Safety and Health Codes Board of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry adopted an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), as directed by Governor Northam, that mandates additional requirements for Virginia employers related to workplace safety due to COVID-19. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the Department of Labor and Industry to express concern about the impact many of the included provisions would have on business throughout the Commonwealth.
The Safety and Health Codes Board is now considering making this burdensome regulation permanent and the Virginia Chamber has submitted this letter to build on the concerns we previously submitted. The policies adopted in the ETS provide very limited flexibility, contain several inconsistencies with state and federal regulations, and provides no safe harbor protections for employers who follow CDC and OSHA guidance. If made permanent, this standard will continue to negatively impact businesses around the Commonwealth and I encourage members of the business community to submit public comments today.
The Safety and Health Codes Board will host a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday, September 30 to consider the proposed permanent standard and members of the public are invited to provide comments. Those interested in providing comments during the town hall must email Princy.Doss@doli.virginia.gov by 5:00 PM on September 29, 2020.
The Dominion Energy Small Business EnergyShare Relief Program is still accepting applications to bring relief to small businesses in the Commonwealth. Dominion Energy Virginia has pledged $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. The program funding will be covered by shareholders and will not impact customer rates. Qualified businesses may be eligible to receive one-time assistance with their past due Dominion Energy electric bill balances up to $1,000. The Virginia Chamber Foundation is proud to partner with Dominion Energy on this important program and I encourage small businesses to visit our website to learn more information and apply today. More information can be found here.
As the global pandemic continues to impact the Commonwealth and nation, I have been impressed by the resiliency of our business community. Your significant efforts to prioritize the health and safety of our citizens is vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The Virginia Chamber will continue to serve as a resource for businesses and I encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for the most up-to-date information.