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Stay Home Stay Safe FAQs for Businesses

Governor Scott’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order requires businesses and non-profits that are not critical to the public health and safety, as well as economic and national security, to suspend in-person business operations through the duration of the Executive Order.

In late-April, the Governor announced his intention to gradually allow businesses to reopen through a phased Work Safe approach. As additional guidance is released, this page will be updated.

PHASED RESTART WORK SAFE GUIDANCE

To help businesses and non-profit organizations determine if their in-person business operations are essential to public health and safety, economic or national security, or if the Phased Work Safe Guidance allows them to get back to work, the Agency has developed Sector-Specific Guidance and the Frequently-Asked Questions found here.

As businesses are considering this guidance, we ask that when in doubt, the business err on the side of caution in the name of public health.

Businesses with in-person operations that are essential to public health and safety, economic or national security under the Executive Order must also comply with new Phased Work Safe Guidance.

Sector-Specific Guidance Request Additional Guidance

Compliance with the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive order is not voluntary, as clarified by the Enforcement Directive issued by the Office of the Attorney General. If members of the public have concerns about violations of the Executive Order, the Department of Public Safety has created a reporting mechanism to gather information about those complaints.

REPORT NON-COMPLIANCE COMPLAINT

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there any precautions my business needs to take if we continue in-person operations?
  2. Does my business need to write a reopening plan and training plan?
  3. Does my business need to hire a new health safety officer?
  4. Where can my employees attain the required safety training?
  5. Do I need to require my employees to wear masks?
  6. If I am unable to wear a cloth face covering due to work, health or environmental conditions, may I wear another mouth and nose covering such as a face shield?
  7. Do I need to take my employees’ temperature at the start of each shift?
  8. What if my business does not allow for strict social distancing?
  9. Where can I find the latest COVID-19 testing guidance for employers?
  10. What do I do if a customer or employee has COVID-19?
  11. When can employees with COVID-19 return to work?
  12. When can a person return to work if they have a symptom or multiple symptoms of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4 F or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea)?
  13. I am a single person business, must I suspend operations if I am not on the critical list?
  14. Can I travel to and from Vermont?
  15. Is my private rental property (Airbnb, etc.) considered to be a lodging establishment under the Executive Order?
  16. Can an outdoor business offer lessons?
  17. If an employee goes on vacation and Vermont guidance requires that employee to quarantine upon return from the vacation, does their employer need to provide sick time?

Are there any precautions my business needs to take if we continue in-person operations?

All businesses, whether essential or not, must abide by the following health and safety guidance included in the Phased Work Safe Guidance:

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 (with fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath).
  • 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. Businesses and non-profit and government entities may decline service to individuals who are not wearing a mask.
  • 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 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, how the system ensures 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.
  • 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 contact with a worker or any other person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days.
  • 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 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 by May 4, 2020, or before returning to operations. Employers who need translations of the training materials have one week from the time the materials are made available.

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, effective May 4, 2020.

Full list of FAQs


Does my business need to write a reopening plan and training plan?

The Work Smart and Stay Safe initiative requires businesses that closed for 7 days or more to adopt or create a sector-specific reopening and training plan before reopening. The Governor’s Economic Mitigation and Recovery Restart Vermont Action Team is working to make model plans available. Businesses may adopt one of these plans or create their own using a Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) / Project WorkSAFE template. When your plan is complete, you are required to keep it on file and present it upon request by VOSHA or any of your employees. You can learn more on the Restart Vermont page.

Full list of FAQs


Does my business need to hire a new health safety officer?

All operations shall designate a health officer on-site at every shift responsible for ensuring compliance with the Executive Order. This person shall have the authority to stop or modify activities to ensure work conforms with the mandatory health and safety requirements. Whenever a group of employees is working together, one of those employees should have this authority. Businesses may wish to provide additional training to designated individuals but are not required to have any specific certification.

Full list of FAQs


Where can my employees attain the required safety training?

The Vermont Occupational and Health Administration offers a free online training course. Some business associations also provide their own trainings that comply with the training. Your business can also provide its own training if it includes the same content. Businesses should keep records that document that employees have taken the training. The VOSHA online training allows participants to print off a certificate. Businesses that were closed during the state of emergency for 7 days or more, and who have 10 or more employees, must consult the Restart Vermont webpage for additional training requirements at https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business/restart.

Full list of FAQs


Do I need to require my employees to wear masks?

Yes. 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. Customers, vendors and visitors are also required to wear face coverings where 6 feet of space between people is not possible (effective August 1, 2020). Refer to our mask guidance for details and resources.

In rare circumstances where an employee is physically unable to wear a mask, the employer should require a note from a doctor explaining their need for an accommodation, and the employer should implement other measures to protect the workplace and the employee.

“In the presence of others” means if there are other people around the employee, or if the employee is likely to interact with others, such as people coming into an office, interacting with customers, or when working outdoors in a public place.

Full list of FAQs


If I am unable to wear a cloth face covering due to work, health or environmental conditions, may I wear another mouth and nose covering such as a face shield?

It is more important than ever to make wearing cloth face masks or coverings a habit and to bring one with you whenever you leave home. Effective August 1, 2020, Cloth face masks or coverings are required in public settings when a physical distance of at least 6 feet is difficult to maintain. For example, visiting a grocery store or on a crowded sidewalk or bike path.

As part of Governor Scott’s Work Smart & Stay Safe - Restart VT, people are required to wear cloth face masks or coverings over their nose and mouth when using public transportation—including buses, trains and ride services, and in mass transportation stations or terminals, including airports.  They are also required to wear face coverings when returning to work and in the presence of others. Businesses and non-profit and government entities may decline service to individuals who are not wearing a mask.

The advice to wear cloth face masks or coverings is based on data about how COVID-19 can spread before a person has any symptoms. Because people may have COVID-19 but no symptoms, wearing cloth face masks or coverings may help keep people from spreading the virus.

People who have trouble breathing can wear a light-weight bandanna or cloth covering tied to be open at the bottom, or a face shield. Face shields are generally not recommended because they are more for health care settings to protect the person wearing it from droplets getting into their eyes. Face masks or coverings, like a cloth face mask or bandanna, do a better job than face shields of keeping droplets in. However, if your work environment or health does not allow you to wear a cloth face mask, wearing a face shield is better than having no barrier on your nose and mouth.

Neither the use of face masks nor the use of face shields is a satisfactory alternative to social distancing. We all still need to stay at least 6 feet away from people, even when wearing cloth face masks or coverings, practice good hand hygiene and follow the state’s Be Smart, Stay Safe guidance.

Full list of FAQs


Do I need to take my employees’ temperature at the start of each shift?

Temperature checks are highly recommended and should be a part of the required health check before or when an employee arrives at the workplace. Prior to the commencement of each work shift, all employees 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, how the system ensures employees have been pre-screened for symptoms before they enter the workplace.

Full list of FAQs


What if my business does not allow for strict social distancing?

All businesses must change processes and work environments to meet the strict social distancing requirements included in the phased restart Work Safe guidance. In instances where non-critical businesses are unable to comply with the strict 6-foot social distancing requirement, they may not be able to open at this time — even under the Phased Work Safe Guidance. Critical businesses unable to meet the requirement must implement other protective measures, such as separating work stations with physical barriers, in an effort to protect their workers.

Full list of FAQs


Where can I find the latest COVID-19 testing guidance for employers?

Periodically visit the Department of Health’s website for the latest guidance, including information about employees safely returning to work and when employee testing is appropriate.

Full list of FAQs


What do I do if a customer or employee has COVID-19?

Working together with the Department of Health is the best way to lessen the risks and contain the spread of COVID-19. If someone was exposed to COVID-19 at your business, a team of infectious disease experts will work closely with you and make recommendations to keep your customers and employees safe. In most cases, when appropriate steps are taken quickly, there is no need to shut down your business.

Here's what you need to do:

  • If an employee or customer tells you that they have tested positive for COVID-19, have them call the Department of Health at 802-863-7240. Find out what you need to do if an employee tests positive.
  • If you are contacted by the Department of Health because a risk has been identified at your business, the team will walk you through the next steps.
  • If you believe your establishment has been exposed to COVID-19, please call the Department of Health at 802-863-7240.

You can learn more about the steps the Department of Health takes to quickly respond when someone tests positive. Visit the Department of Health’s website to get more information about preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.

Full list of FAQs


When can employees with COVID-19 return to work?

To know when it is safe for an employee to return to work, refer to the following two strategies:

  1. For people who have symptoms, use the symptom-based strategy. Exclude from work until:
    • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery. Recovery is when fever resolves without the use of fever-reducing medications and respiratory symptoms (like cough or shortness of breath) have improved; and
    • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  2. For people who do not have symptoms, use the time-based strategy. Exclude from work until 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 test if they have not developed symptoms. If they develop symptoms, then use the symptom-based strategy outlined above.

Neither a negative test for COVID-19 nor a letter from the Department of Health should be required to return to work.

For additional information, refer to the Department of Health’s “What Employers Should do if Their Employee Tests Positive” document.

Full list of FAQs


When can a person return to work if they have a symptom or multiple symptoms of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4 F or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea)?

If a person is sick with any symptoms of COVID-19:

  1. Talk with your health care provider to determine if:
    1. your symptoms are due to COVID-19 or some other reason
    2. you should or should not go to public places or work
  2. If COVID-19 is suspected, your health care provider can refer you for testing. Stay home while you are waiting for your test results. If you test positive, a Health Department contact tracer will reach out to walk you through what to do next. You will be advised to stay home from work and other activities until:
    • fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and other symptoms (like cough or shortness of breath) have improved; and
    • at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  3. If you are sick due to something other than COVID-19, you should stay out of work until:
    • you have been without fever for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications (if you had a fever); and
    • any other symptoms have resolved or are improving.

Full list of FAQs


I am a single person business, must I suspend operations if I am not on the critical list?

No, if you are able to conduct your business without in-person business interactions, you may continue as long as you have complied with previous Executive Orders concerning remote work and telework. In addition, outdoor work, construction, low-contact or no-contact work, and limited retail operations are specifically addressed in the Phased Work Safe Guidance. Please consult Secretary Lindsay Kurrle’s Memorandum to Businesses and Employers for more information. Please review the sector specific guidance for additional information and examples.

Full list of FAQs


Can I travel to and from Vermont?

Refer to the Cross State Travel Information page for details about leisure and essential travel.

Full list of FAQs


Is my private rental property (Airbnb, etc.) considered to be a lodging establishment under the Executive Order?

Yes, any commercial transaction providing accommodations is considered lodging. Short term rental owners, such as property owners using Airbnb, must also comply with this order. See the sector-specific guidance for Lodging for detailed of permitted lodging under the Executive Order.

Full list of FAQs


Can an outdoor business offer lessons?

Low-contact and no-contact businesses that provide instructional services to people participating in outdoor recreation – including but not limited to tennis, golf, horseback riding, personal training, and yoga – may provide outdoor instruction to groups of less than 50 percent fire safety occupancy or 1 person per 100 square feet with a maximum of 75 indoors and 150 outdoors. Organizations must implement protective measures such as not participating if any signs of illness are present, practicing physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings, and cleaning equipment and other shared items between usage. Participants must bring and use their own equipment (such as yoga mats, weights, jump ropes, etc.). All activities shall be conducted with proper physical distancing with participants no less than 6 feet apart. Organizations or businesses must complete all the steps found here before beginning such classes or programs: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business/restart.

Full list of FAQs


If an employee goes on vacation and Vermont guidance requires that employee to quarantine upon return from the vacation, does their employer need to provide sick time?

Yes, the employer does have to pay for the quarantine under the terms of the FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Mandatory quarantine is a qualifying condition under the Act, and the Act does not take into account the circumstances that led up to the need for quarantine. Employees may quarantine for 7 days and get tested and return to work after receiving a negative result or quarantine for 14 days.

Employers may consider alternatives to this impact through:

  1. The employer can have a policy that requires employees to request leave ahead of time, and if the request is for vacation in another state that would lead to quarantine, the employer could deny the request.
  2. If the employer has work the employee can do remotely, the employer can require the employee to work while quarantining.

Full list of FAQs

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