Virginia becomes first state to adopt 'enforceable' workplace safety standards for COVID-19

RICHMOND, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Virginia has become the first state in the nation to adopt "enforceable" workplace safety standards for COVID-19.

Governor Ralph Northam made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday saying, "Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living–especially not during a pandemic."

The Washington Post reports the Commonwealth's safety and health codes board voted 9-2 to pass the emergency legislation today.

The "emergency temporary standard" will require businesses in the state to implement safety measures in an effort to protect their employees from being infected with the coronavirus at work.

If companies violate the policies in place, they could reportedly face steep financial penalties.

The policies will prohibit workers suspected of having the coronavirus from coming into work, require companies to notify workers of possible exposure to infected coworkers within a 24 hour period, and includes other mandates about physical distancing, protective gear, sanitation, disinfecting and hand-washing, according to the Post.

In late May, Virginia's Department of Labor and Industry, under direction from Northam, drafted the regulation.