Vermont Employers Encouraged by ACCD to Adopt COVID Measures, Will Hold Webinar December 20

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development issued a memorandum December 16 encouraging Vermont employers to take steps to help promote vaccination, masking, and testing to help mitigate threats and consequences of COVID in a time of holiday gatherings, new variant threats, and importance of boosters as initial vaccination efficacy declines.  The memorandum outlines several recommendations, most of which many employers are likely already following or considering.

From the memorandum, the following are the four primary recommendations from ACCD:

  • Encourage your employees to get vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines are the best tool for preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations. Encouraging the vaccinated to get their booster shot six months after their initial vaccination is also crucial.  Encourage them to do this as soon as possible.  Finding a vaccine clinic is easy and there are thousands of available timeslots across the state every day.  A few state-run clinics take walk-ins.  You can find the full list and interactive map by clicking here.
  • Review all workplace safety protocols. Please review all protocols for mitigating all workplace injuries and the spread of all infection, including COVID-19, with the goal of reducing hospital visits of all types.  As a community, we need to make an extra effort to reduce demand on the healthcare system.  There are tools available to you through the Department of Labor and VOSHA to help you provide a safe and healthy workplace (click here).
  • Enhance COVID-19 mitigation with “Vaccine or Test & Mask” Requirements.  We recommend implementing a policy of asking employees to provide proof of full vaccination (and booster shots when eligible). The advantage to your business is that fully vaccinated employees do not need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of someone who is infected. For employees who choose not to be vaccinated, we recommend that you require proof of a negative COVID-19 test once per week (twice weekly if rapid test is used, taken 24 hours apart) and require them to always wear a mask indoors, except when eating and drinking.  As an employer, the State of Vermont has had great success increasing vaccination and booster rates, as well as mitigating cases and the disruptions from close contact quarantines by implementing a similar policy (click here).
  • Certain public facing businesses should consider proof of vaccination or negative test policies for customers. Keeping in mind that only about 5% of the eligible adult population remains unvaccinated, (many of them in the 20- to 40-year-old age bands), bars, restaurants, social clubs and special event/performance venues should consider asking customers and event attendees over the age 5 to provide proof of full vaccination, or a negative (rapid antigen or PCR) test within 24-hours.  This policy is already in place at some businesses in Vermont and can substantially increase vaccination rates and reduce community spread of COVID-19.  It also provides customers and employees with greater peace of mind.

For the full memorandum laying out these recommendations from ACCD, click here.

Webinar Scheduled for December 20

ACCD will be hosting a webinar along with the Department of Labor, Department of Health, Agency of Human Services, and Agency of Administration so that employers can discuss these recommendations and related questions and issues.  This webinar will be Monday, December 20, from 3:00 to 4:00.  You can find more information and ways to participate by clicking here.

AIV encourages employers to participate in the webinar if they can, but given the short notice and limited time available, please do not hesitate to share any questions or suggestions that you might have with us at info@aivt.org.  We will work to get responses and pass on suggestions, as well as work to arrange additional webinars and seek further clarifications and guidance as warranted.