New Safety Measures Required for Essential Businesses

April 17, 2020

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has issued a new rule entitled “Public Health Standards for Businesses Remaining Open During the COVID-19 Outbreak.” (Click here for direct link to rule text.)

Under the governor’s March 24 “stay home” order, businesses classified as “essential” are permitted to operate.

Now, under this new DHHR rule, these essential businesses must direct employees to work from home/remotely “to the maximum extent possible.”

Businesses that are open to the public or where employees normally work side by side must:

  • Implement a written plan to limit staff, contractors, and vendors to essential personnel
  • Implement social distancing practices in the workplace (i.e., maintain six-foot distance between all persons “where possible”)
  • Supply “adequate” disinfecting and hygienic supplies and dispensers for staff and customers
  • Provide protective barriers for customer service personnel

Businesses open to the public shall limit access as follows:

  • Restrict entry to 2 customers per 1,000 square feet of “customer floor space” (or 3 per 1,000 in stores whose sales are at least 80 percent grocery food products)
  • In businesses of less than 1,000 square feet, restrict occupancy to no more than 5 persons, including employees, at any time
  • Actively monitor the number of customers in their stores and restrict entry as needed to comply with the above

Businesses open to the public must also:

  • Mark off six-foot distances for customers to stand in line, create one-way aisles, and take any other measures necessary to maintain social distancing of six feet between and among customers and staff
  • Encourage use of call-ahead/curbside pickup
  • “Display the directives required” (i.e., the above restrictions and requirements) at each public point of entry

Additional tools to support compliance will be released later today. For your health and safety, and for the health and safety of vulnerable community members, please take action as soon as possible to begin implementing these procedures.

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