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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 and new information will be added in red.

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. Do I need permission to continue operating my business under the Executive Order?
  2. Is my business included as critical to public health, safety, or economic and national security in Vermont?
  3. If I am still not sure, how else can I determine if my business provides services deemed critical to public health and safety, and economic and national security?
  4. How do I know if I fall under these industry descriptions?
  5. What if my business has multiple NAICS codes?
  6. What if I think my business should be open but I am being asked to close?
  7. I still don’t qualify. What now?
  8. What if my business is primarily online? Do I still need to close?
  9. What is the definition of “in-person business operations”?
  10. Are there any precautions my business needs to take if we continue in-person operations?
  11. Does my business need to write a reopening plan and training plan?
  12. Does my business need to hire a new health safety officer?
  13. Where can my employees attain the required safety training?
  14. Do I need to require my employees to wear masks?
  15. Do I need to take my employees’ temperature at the start of each shift?
  16. What if my business does not allow for strict social distancing?
  17. I am a single person business, must I suspend operations if I am not on the critical list?
  18. Can I travel to Vermont?
  19. Are colleges required to suspend all in person business?
  20. Is my private rental property (Airbnb, etc.) considered to be a lodging establishment under the Executive Order?
  21. Can an outdoor business offer lessons?

Do I need permission to continue operating my business under the Executive Order?

No. Please use the available guidance to determine if your business may continue in-person business operations. When in doubt, please err on the side of caution in the interest of public health. The Agency is not issuing certification that you are complying with the Order, and is not issuing waivers. Businesses should evaluate their in-person operations and make decisions in the interest of protecting Vermonters’ lives during this public health crisis. If you don’t believe the guidance addresses your particular situation, you may submit a request for additional guidance.

Full list of FAQs


Is my business included as critical to public health, safety, or economic and national security in Vermont?

The Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order specifics the following sectors and activities as critical:

(a) Health care operations such as COVID-19 testing and clinical research, hospital personnel and other healthcare providers, public health workers and other healthcare service providers, laboratory services, caregivers, logistics, technology, security and custodial support, blood and plasma donors and mortuary services;

(b) Law enforcement, public safety and first responders, including fire, ambulance services, emergency medical technicians and emergency management personnel;

(c) Critical infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure;

(d) Construction necessary to support the COVID-19 response and maintain critical infrastructure;

(e) Critical manufacturing, including food and animal feed manufacturing, processing and supply, pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing necessary to support the COVID-19 response as well as economic and national security;

(f) Retail serving basic human needs such as grocery stores, pharmacies, other retail that sells food, beverage, animal feed and essential supplies, provided, these retail operations shall be conducted through on-line and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;

(g) Fuel products and supply;

(h) Hardware stores, provided, these retail operations shall be conducted through online and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;

(i) Transportation sector and agricultural sector equipment parts, repair and maintenance, provided these retail operations shall be conducted through on-line and telephone orders for delivery and curb-side pickup to the extent possible;

(j) Trash collection and disposal, recycling and operations and maintenance of drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure;

(k) Agriculture and farms, animal shelters, production and delivery of seed, chemicals and fertilizers, CSAs and veterinarians;

(l) Lodging, to the extent required to support COVID-19 response, critical infrastructure and national security;

(m) Other building and property services for the safety, sanitation and operations of residences or other businesses;

(n) Mail and shipping services;

(o) News media;

(p) Banks and related financial institutions, provided, however, routine retail banking operations shall be limited to transactions conducted through automated teller machines, drive-through services and online and telephone services;

(q) Providers of necessities and services to economically disadvantaged populations; and

(r) Other vendors of technical, security, logistics, custodial and equipment repair and maintenance services necessary to support the COVID-19 response, critical infrastructure and national security.

Full list of FAQs


If I am still not sure, how else can I determine if my business provides services deemed critical to public health and safety, and economic and national security?

  • Businesses should first consult the text of the Executive Order and the Phased Work Safe Guidance to determine if they are determined critical.
  • Businesses should review these Frequently Asked Questions and the Sector Specific Guidance.
  • If a business still has questions, they should refer to the NAICS Code Guidance List to help determine which sectors and activities are critical. If the list says “Yes” in the “Critical” column, then your business may remain operational, subject to the restriction that you use remote work wherever possible and also need to follow all Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Vermont Department of Health (VDH) guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • ACCD has compiled a list of professions deemed essential. This list may help determine if your business is exempt from in-person business operation restrictions under the Executive Order. Inclusion on this list should not be interpreted as a green light to continue operating as usual. The business should only continue in-person operations that are necessary to meet health and security concerns and must comply with previous Executive Orders concerning telework and remote work, and follow all CDC and VDH guidelines.

Full list of FAQs


How do I know if I fall under these industry descriptions?

Included with the descriptions is the relevant 4-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. All businesses should have a NAICS code or codes on their unemployment insurance forms or on their most recent tax return. The U.S. Census Bureau is a helpful resource to learn more about individual NAICS codes.

Full list of FAQs


What if my business has multiple NAICS codes?

If your business includes a NAICS code that is essential, that function of your business can remain operational. The non-essential functions of your business should suspend, unless those functions can be transitioned to remote working.

Full list of FAQs


What if I think my business should be open but I am being asked to close?

If any business still needs additional direction after reviewing the Executive Order and sector specific guidance provided, a business may submit a Request for Additional Guidance. Businesses do not need an official certification from ACCD to continue in-person operations if they provide services essential to public health and safety, economic or national security. Businesses with in-person operations that are essential to public health and safety, economic or national security under the Executive Order must still comply with all current CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidelines and the Phased Work Safe Guidance.

Full list of FAQs


I still don’t qualify. What now?

You’re not alone. These are extraordinary times requiring extraordinary measures and sacrifices. Many employers and workers will face financial hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak. The State and its Federal partners are working hard to bring aid and relief to Vermonters.

Full list of FAQs


What if my business is primarily online? Do I still need to close?

The purpose of Stay Home, Stay Safe is to reduce person-to-person contact. If you operate an online business, or have transitioned to remote working with no in-person transactions, you can continue operating. All non-essential businesses must either cease other in-person operations or only operate limited in-person operations in accordance with the Phased Work Safe Guidance. Businesses do not need an official certification from ACCD to continue in-person operations if they provide services essential to public health and safety, economic or national security.

Full list of FAQs


What is the definition of “in-person business operations”?

The Stay Home, Stay Safe order directs businesses to suspend in-person business operations and transactions. In-person business operations refer to both employees and customers who interact with other people in their daily work routines. A business should not operate, unless exempted within the order, if its operation requires one person to come into contact with another person. The new Phased Work Safe Guidance allows some non-essential low risk businesses to conduct in-person work.

Full list of FAQs


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 require customers or clients to wear masks.
  • 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, pre-screening and health survey shall be required to verify each employee has no symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath). At the present time non-contact thermometers are in short supply, however employers shall immediately order, and use their best efforts to obtain, thermometers in order to conduct routine temperature checks.
  • 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 2 people shall occupy one vehicle when conducting work.
  • 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 business, non-profit and government operations must use remote work whenever possible.
  • 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.

Additional health and safety consideration 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.

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 strongly urged to wear face coverings.

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


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

If possible, yes. The executive order and guidance states: “To the extent feasible, prior to the commencement of each work shift, pre-screening or survey shall be required to verify each employee has no symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath), including temperature checks.”

If a business is able to take temperature checks, it should. If proper equipment is unavailable, or a situation prevents this from being possible, the business may create an alternative plan to comply with the requirement, including asking employees to take their own temperature before reporting to work.

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


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 Vermont?

Commuter (day trip) traffic to and from Vermont by those who travel daily between Vermont and adjacent states is authorized for essential travel (e.g. essential work, healthcare, groceries) and currently authorized daily work, family visitation, or recreation.

Travel to and from Vermont from outside the daily commuting area and by those who do not travel to and from adjacent states daily is currently restricted and subject to mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Vermont.

Those participating in essential work or currently authorized work that requires an overnight stay may utilize the state’s lodging, camping and short-term rental properties if the individual self-certifies upon arrival that they are authorized to work in Vermont, have not been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, and have not experienced COVID-19-like symptoms in the past 24 hours including a fever above 100.4 F, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache or new loss of taste or smell.

Leisure travel to Vermont — either for the day or overnight — remains prohibited unless the traveler quarantines for 14 days upon arrival.

For more information about how to quarantine, visit the Vermont Department of Health’s quarantine chart. Vermonters or out-of-staters required to quarantine may arrange to be tested for COVID-19 after day 7 of their quarantine to request a COVID-19 test. A negative test result after day 7 of the quarantine may shorten the quarantine period.

Full list of FAQs


Are colleges required to suspend all in person business?

Schools and colleges may continue to offer remote learning opportunities, assuming all instruction does not require in person business to occur at the college (multiple staff or professors in the same room). For colleges that have students living on campus unable to return to a primary residence (international students, vulnerable populations, etc), the college may continue operating as an essential housing provider. This would include providing facilities management, limited food service in accordance with previous Executive Orders, and security services. All CDC and VDH guidance should continue to be adhered to.

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 25 people outdoors provided that protective measures are followed 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.

Full list of FAQs

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