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Weekly COVID-19 Update: Virginia Enacts First-in-Nation Permanent Workplace Safety and Health Standards, In-Store Vaccinations, and More

2/01/2021
ANSI News

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to pr@ansi.org. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

Virginia Enacts First-in-Nation Permanent COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Health Standards

Effective on January 27, 2021, Virginia became the first state in the nation to enact permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standards. The COVID-19 workplace safety and health rules are in effect after Governor Ralph Northam approved the standard adopted by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board.

The standards align closely and supersede the Emergency Temporary Standards adopted in the state in July 2020, designed to establish requirements for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In addition to requiring all public-facing employees to wear masks, the standards ensure ready access to hand sanitizer and the regular cleaning of common workspaces. Employers must train employees on COVID-19 safety to develop infectious disease and preparedness response plans. The new permanent regulations also include guidelines for returning to work and communicating about employees who test positive and potential exposures.

Additionally, the final standard notes that employers shall ensure that appropriate air-handling systems under their control "comply with USBC and applicable referenced American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards."

“While the end of this pandemic is finally in sight, the virus is still spreading, including several highly contagious variants, and now is not the time to let up on preventative measures,” said Gov. Northam in a statement. “I am grateful to the many businesses and organizations who have been with us throughout this process and continue to take the necessary steps to operate safely. These standards will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and protect the health and safety of Virginia workers, consumers, and communities as we move our Commonwealth forward together.”

CVS Begins In-Store Vaccinations

CVS Health has announced that it is administering the COVID-19 vaccine by appointment only in select stores, based on local eligibility guidelines.

The company reported that it is prepared to play a prominent role in administering COVID-19 vaccinations to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as well as to the general public, once the vaccine is available for general distribution, through a partnership with CDC as one of the COVID-19 vaccination program providers.

Access more information via the CVS Health COVID-19 resource center.

National Restaurant Association Releases 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report

The National Restaurant Association recently released its "2021 State of the Restaurant Industry" report that addresses the impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry. The report captures the responses to the Association’s survey of 6,000 restaurant operators across all industry segments, and a survey of 1,000 adult consumers.

Notably, the report explores several crucial areas in which the pandemic forced restaurateurs to pivot and adapt, quickly adopting contactless technology, shifting most service to off-premises and outdoor dining, and adjusting labor levels and menus. The Association also offers extensive analysis on key sector trends, including operations, food and menu, the state of the workforce, and consumer sentiment and intentions.

Access the free summary on the National Restaurant Association website.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response

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