Businesses & Employees

Businesses & Employees

customer and cashier at grocery store check-out

The Health Department has resources to help businesses operate safely. We offer guidance and assistance for both businesses and employees.

If you learn of a positive case at your business, contact the Health Department's Infectious Disease Epidemiology team. Call 802-863-7240 (Mon - Fri 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m, choose Option 8, outside those hours, choose Option 7).


COVID-19 in the Workplace: Information for Employers

If someone was exposed to COVID-19 at your business, a team of infectious disease experts will work closely with you. They will make recommendations to keep your customers and employees safe. In most cases, when appropriate steps are taken quickly, there is no need to shut down your business. Here’s what you need to do:

  • If an employee or customer tells you that they have tested positive for COVID-19, have them call the Health Department at 802-863-7240.
  • Review the Checklist for Employers: COVID-19 in the Workplace.
  • If you are contacted by the Health Department because a risk has been identified at your business, the team will walk you through the next steps.
  • If you believe your establishment has been exposed to COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 802-863-7240.

The team will follow up with everyone who tests positive, calculate the period of time when they were contagious, and find out what locations they visited during that time. The team works hard to determine which locations may have been at risk, based on their expertise and knowledge of how the virus spreads. You can learn more about the steps the Health Department takes(link is external)to quickly respond when someone tests positive. Vermont businesses play a critical role in keeping employers, employees, and customers safe and healthy. Working together with the Health Department is the best way to lessen the risks and contain the spread of COVID-19.

Read the guidance for employees when a co-worker tests positive.
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COVID-19 and Returning to Work

Employers should not require a negative test before an employee who had COVID-19 can return to work, because studies show that someone may continue to test positive long after they have recovered and are no longer contagious. Once someone meets the criteria for ending isolation, there is no longer a risk of them spreading the virus to others.

To know when it is safe for an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 to return to work, refer to one of the following two strategies:

1. For people who had symptoms, exclude from work until:

  • their fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and other symptoms (like cough or shortness of breath) have improved; and
  • at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

2. For people who did not have symptoms, exclude from work until 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 test.

It is not recommend to: 

  • ask for proof of a negative or positive COVID-19 test.
  • ask people who have recovered from COVID-19 to test negative before returning to work.

Additionally, the Health Department does not provide letters for employees to return to work or to be excused from work.

COVID-19 in the Workplace: Information for Employees

Employees with COVID-19 related concerns in the workplace can contact the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration(link is external)(VOSHA). Employees can submit a safety complaint form on VOSHA’s website (link is external)or call toll free at 1-800-287-2765.

The Health Department cannot provide documentation for people to go to work or to stay home. A negative test should not be required to return to work.

What to do if you are sick with any symptoms of COVID-19

Talk with your health care provider to determine if:

  • your symptoms are due to COVID-19 or some other reason
  • you should or should not go to public places or work

If COVID-19 is suspected, your health care provider can refer you for testing. Stay home while you are waiting for your test results. If you test positive, a Health Department contact tracer will reach out to walk you through what to do next.

You will be advised to stay home from work and other activities until:

  • fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and other symptoms (like cough or shortness of breath) have improved – AND –
  • at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If you are sick due to something other than COVID-19, you should stay out of work until:

  • you have been without fever for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medications (if you had a fever) – AND –
  • any other symptoms have resolved or are improving.


Employers Can Help Prevent COVID-19

The Health Department encourages Vermont employers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To do this, employers should:

  • support employees to stay home if they are sick or need isolate or quarantine.
  • encourage employees to stay 6 feet or 2 meters away from other people whenever possible, cover their coughs and sneezes, wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask. Find prevention resources here.
  • allow employees to work at home if possible.
  • perform routine environmental cleaning.
Health Resources for Businesses
Food and Lodging Businesses

Find up-to-date information on food and lodging businesses (link is external) from the Agency of Commerce and Community and Development (ACCD).

Restaurants are open under certain health and safety requirements. Bars and social clubs are closed for in-person service but may offer curbside and delivery. Get up-to-date information at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD)

Lodging facilities may serve Vermont residents and those who have met the quarantine requirement. All guests must complete a health questionnaire upon check-in and must provide a Vermont driver’s license or sign a Certificate of Compliance certifying that they met the quarantine requirement. See more details about visitors to Vermont.

If you have a concern about lodging facilities that are violating the Be Smart, Stay Safe Order, fill out the Department of Public Safety's online non-compliance complaint form.



The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has the most up-to-date information for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including financial assistance, guidance for different business sectors, and unemployment information. The best way to make sure people in your workplace are protected against COVID-19 is to follow ACCD guidance (link is external).


Visit the ACCD COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center
See the Governor's executive orders for changes that affect employers and employees