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).
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.
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.
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.
- Vermont Department of Labor (link is external)has unemployment information.
- Agency of Commerce and Community Development (link is external)has answers to questions regarding financial assistance (for example mortgage, utility bills, internet, and taxes) and housing (for example, paying rent, short-term housing and emergency housing).
- Report business non-compliance with executve orders (link is external)
- What to do if your co-worker tests positive
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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.
- Winter Indoor Air Guidance
- Checklist for Employers: COVID-19 in the Workplace
- COVID-19 Health & Safety Tips for Essential Businesses
- What do I do if my employee tests positive for COVID-19
- What to do if a guest or visitor at your establishment tests positive for COVID-19
- COVID-19 information for Vermont employers (link is external) (Vermont Department of Labor)
- Mandatory Health and Safety Training (link is external) (Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
- COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment Guidance (Vermont Department of Health)
- Guidance for businesses and employers (link is external)to plan, prepare and respond to COVID-19 (CDC)
- State Drinking Water Guidance and Recommendations when Reopening Buildings (link is external) (DEC)
- Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation (link is external) (CDC)
- Reopening Signage (link is external) (Agency of Commerce and Community Development)
- Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes (link is external)(CDC)
- Guidance for Professional Services and Swimming Facilities (link is external) (Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development)
- Information about disinfecting your facility if someone is sick. (link is external) (CDC)
- Signs & Symbols - A collection of signs and symbols to help communicate how you would like people to interact. Includes sign for "social distancing" and for "vulnerable person"
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.
- Information About the Lodging Certificate of Compliance (link is external)(Vermont Agency on Commerce and Community Development)
- COVID-19 Guidance for Food and Lodging Businesses (Vermont Department of Health)
- Guidance for Lodging and Accommodations (link is external) (Vermont Agency on Commerce and Community Development)
- Submit a complaint concerning a food or lodging business (Vermont Department of Health)
- Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic (link is external) (FDA)
- Translated posters and information sheets
- Social Distancing (smaller version)
- Social Distancing (larger version)
- Keep Germs from Spreading
- Proper Handwashing
- Signs & Symbols - A collection of signs and symbols to help communicate how you would like people to interact. Includes sign for "social distancing" and for "vulnerable person".
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).
- 7 Ways Business Owners Can Take Care of Their Mental Health
- Line list for workplaces
- Update on New Work Safe Additions to the Be Smart, Stay Safe Order
- FAQs for businesses from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development
- Report business non-compliance with executive orders
- Vermont Ski Resort COVID-19 Winter Operations Guidance (link is external)
See the Governor's executive orders for changes that affect employers and employees