Phases Zero + One

PHASES ZERO + ONE (1)

PHASE ZERO

Localities in Phase Zero:

  • Accomack County
  • Northern Virginia (Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William; Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park; Towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna)
  • City of Richmond

Key Requirements:

For VADA members in the Northern Virginia Region, Accomack County, and/or City of Richmond, Executive Order 62, as amended, does not impose new restrictions on your business(es). Rather, the Order keeps in place the restrictions your business has been subject to since the Governor issued Executive Order 53 on March 23 — or “Phase Zero,” as the Governor calls it — until midnight May 28.

Like with Northern Virginia, Governor Northam delayed Phase I for Accomack County and the City of Richmond. The two localities requested the extensions, the Governor notes in amended Executive Order 62 issued Thursday (May 14). The amended Order stipulates health numbers in the localities give reason for the delay. It is effective 12 a.m., Friday, May 15, 2020 and remains in effect until 11:59 p.m., Thursday, May 28, 2020 unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

A press release from Gov. Northam goes on to stipulate Accomack and Richmond will enter Phase I no earlier than midnight on Thursday, May 28. We will keep you apprised of additional information for the two localities as it becomes available. Read the full release.

PHASE ONE

Localities in Phase One:

  • All of Virginia excluding Accomack County, Northern Virginia, and Richmond.

Key Requirements:

Executive Order 61 (Phase One of reopening) is effective May 15, 2020 through Wednesday, June 10, 2020 unless amended or rescinded by further executive action. Carefully review the following information — it could be the difference between your store’s continued operations and forced closure.

Non-Essential Brick and Mortar Retail (Sales and Finance Departments)

  • Like Executive Order 53, Executive Order 61 treats sales and finance departments as non-essential brick and mortar retail operations.
  • Sales and finance departments must comply with the mandatory provisions for brick and mortar retail stipulated in the Guidelines for All Business Sectors. Failure to comply requires closure.
    • That means continued physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and enhanced workplace safety plus a posting of CDC materials as stipulated in the Guidelines.
    • It also means nine (9) additional, mandatory requirements[1] for Virginia’s franchised auto dealerships. Stores must:
      • (1) Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment.
      • (3) Limit occupancy to 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy.
        • (Note: This new requirement replaces the 10-patron/customer limit under Executive Order 53 and applies to both customers and dealership personnel. If you do not know your store’s lowest occupancy load, your locality’s building inspector office may have the answer. If your lowest occupancy load is 100, you are permitted 50 employees and customers or less physically present at any one time. Because others outside your organization may question your compliance with the new occupancy limitation, you should obtain and/or maintain documentation proving your lowest occupancy load.)
      • (4) Assist customers in keeping at least six feet of space between individuals or households while shopping and waiting in line. Mark floors in six-foot increments in areas where customers will be congregating or standing in line such as cashier areas.
      • (5) If seating is available, provide a minimum of six feet between tables; if tables are not movable, parties must be spaced at least six feet apart.
      • (6) Meeting rooms and other enclosed spaces should be closed to customers.
      • (7) Employees working in customer-facing areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as using CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.
        • (Note: Executive Order 61 and the Guidelines taken together, it is our reading employers must provide employees with face coverings, and employees must wear them when facing customers and where social distancing cannot be strictly maintained. To avoid confusion, it is a best practice to have all your employees wear face coverings, even when interacting with other employees. It is also a best practice to encourage customers to wear face coverings while entering, exiting, or otherwise traveling throughout the store. Use common sense.)
      • (8) Clean and disinfect frequently contacted surfaces — e.g., countertops and bathroom surfaces — at a minimum, every two (2) hours.
      • (9) No self-service food. Self-service beverage areas must use beverage equipment designed to dispense through a contamination-free method.
        • (Note: It is our understanding this means only vending machines are permitted for food and only vending machines and/or water coolers are permitted for beverages, so long as the machines and/or coolers are designed to dispense through a contamination-free method and frequently sanitized.)

Essential Retail Businesses (Service Departments)

  • Like Executive Order 53, Executive Order 61 treats automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities as “essential retail businesses.”
  • Service departments should comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors as best practices.
    • That means continued physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and enhanced workplace safety plus a posting of CDC materials as stipulated in the Guidelines.
    • Other requirements listed above that are mandatory for sales and finance departments do not extend to service departments under Executive Order 61 or the Guidelines.
  • The only limitation on the number of service and parts customers in the dealership is the practical one of ensuring proper physical distancing.
  • Executive Order 61 and the Guidelines taken together, it is our reading employers must provide employees with face coverings, and employees must wear them when facing customers and where social distancing cannot be strictly maintained. To avoid confusion, it is a best practice to have all your employees wear face coverings, even when interacting with other employees. It is also a best practice to encourage customers to wear face coverings while entering, exiting, or otherwise traveling throughout the store. Use common sense.

Social Gatherings and Enforcement of Executive Order 61

  • All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals are prohibited; however, the presence of more than 10 individuals performing functions of their employment is not considered a “gathering.”
  • Failure to adhere to the requirements in Executive Order 61 may result in store closure and/or a Class 1 misdemeanor and up to one year in jail. Any state agency with regulatory authority over Virginia’s franchised auto dealerships may also enforce Executive Order 61 to the extent permitted by law. Further, noncompliance could jeopardize the continued ability of any VADA member to remain open during this difficult time. Do not underestimate the government’s power to shut down franchised auto dealership operations. Use common sense, and err on the side of caution.

If you have questions about any of the above, please contact Anne Gambardella, Esq. or Tommy Lukish, Esq. Anne is available at (804) 545-3006 or AGambardella@vada.com. You can reach Tommy at (804) 545-3028 or TLukish@vada.com.