Covid-19-Updates

Daily Updates: COVID-19 April 13

by Enhesa 13 Apr. 2020

In this blog you will find the newest regulations that our in-house EHS Experts have documented in the last 24 hours around the globe.

 

What is Happening Around the Globe?

With measures changing globally in response to the Covid-19 virus on a daily basis, we acknowledge how difficult it is for the EHS/SHE community to stay up-to-date and on top of regulations. At Enhesa, staying on top of regulations always has been our priority. In this virus pandemic we are gearing up in order to support organizations in the best possible way. That is why we have decided to start distributing all Covid-19 related Regulatory Forecaster Service content as broadly as we possibly can within the community.

Below are the last updates on Coronavirus related developments that the Enhesa's EHS Experts have found around the globe. These updates will help you to keep track of the rapidly changing mandatory and voluntary guidance related to this crisis. Want to have these updates daily pushed to your inbox? Subscribe to the Enhesa Covid-19 newsletter here.

Should you require more guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out to Enhesa.

The below Regulatory Forecaster reports have been released on Friday 10th of April. Each day we will publish new releases. 

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HONG KONG

The ban on public gatherings of more than four persons amid the COVID-19 pandemic except for work has been extended to 23 April 2020

Abstract: From 10 April 2020 to 23 April 2020, companies are prohibited from holding public gatherings of more than four persons in any public places amid the COVID-19 pandemic unless it is the exempted group gathering for transportation, work, or special meeting required by law.

Business Impact: If the company has facilities in Hong Kong, it must note that the ban on public gatherings of more than four persons has been extended from 10 April 2020 to 23 April 2020, except for work or specific meetings required by law. The offence to the prohibition, including each individual participating in the public gather, is subject to a fine and imprisonment of six months.

Analysis: On 8 April 2020, the Hong Kong Government Gazette published the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Chapter 559G) (G.N. (E.) 27 of 2020) (預防及控制疾病(禁止羣組聚集)規例(第599G章)) (2020年第27號號外公告)) to extend the ban on the public gathering of more than four persons in any public places from 10 April 2020 to 23 April 2020. The G.N. (E.) 27 of 2020 follows the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (預防及控制疾病(禁止羣組聚集)規例) (the "Regulation") that sets forth a ban on public gatherings of more than four persons in any public place to prevent the spread of severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent (COVID-19). The prohibition does not apply to certain exempted group gatherings, for example, for the purposes of transportation, performing governmental functions, work, or special meetings required by law. Also, the offence to the regulation, including each person participating in the group gathering, is subject to a fine and imprisonment for six months. Background Information Under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation, the ban does not apply to certain exempted group gathering specified in Schedule 1 or a group gathering that is permitted by the Chief Secretary (Secretary for Food and Health). Exempted group gatherings include, for example:
for the purposes of or related to transportation;
for performing any governmental functions;
for performing any function of a statuary body or an advisory body of the Government;
at a place of work for the purposes of work;
for obtaining or receiving hospital or healthcare service at a healthcare facility;
of persons living in the same household;
necessary for the conduct of proceedings in a court, magistrates' court or tribunal;
necessary for the proceeding in the Legislative Council or a District Council;
during a funeral, or during any other occasion for mourning for or remembering a deceased who has yet to be buried or cremated;
not more than 20 persons during a wedding ceremony at which no food or drink is served;
a meeting of a body that must be held within a specified period (29 March 2020 to 11 April 2020) in order to comply with any Ordinance or other regulatory instruction that governs the operation of the body or its business; and
held for imparting information or skills, or handling supplies or items, that are conducive to the prevention and control of the specified disease (COVID-19).
Public place means a place to which the public or a section of the public may or are permitted to have access from time to time, whether by payment or otherwise.

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AUSA

Companies can now access workplace guidance for dealing with COVID-19 and a regulatory statement of intent released by SafeWork South Australia

Abstract: Since 8 April 2020, South Australian companies can access workplace guidance concerning COVID-19, released by SafeWork South Australia. The regulator has also released a statement of regulatory intent for during the pandemic, in which it states it will take a flexible approach.

Business Impact: Employers should note updated guidance for dealing with COVID-19 and the enforcement approach of SafeWork South Australia (SA) against companies unable to meet work health and safety responsibilities as a result of issues associated with the pandemic. SafeWork SA will take an educative and supportive approach to compliance, as long as the company makes genuine attempts at compliance and the factors for non-compliance are outside of the businesses control. Enforcement activity by SafeWork will continue for matters that pose significant risk to worker safety. Certain actions that remain particularly important in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak include reviewing infection control procedures and actively promoting social distancing and good hygiene.

Analysis: On 8 April 2020, SafeWork South Australia (SA) released updated guidance for work health and safety responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic. Workplace responsibilities All employers must prepare and take action to protect workers and others at their workplace from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 so far as is reasonably practicable, in accordance with their duties under the work health and safety (WHS) legislation. Accordingly, some actions advised for employers, depending on the workplace include for example:
closely monitoring the Australian Government Department of Health, the Smartraveller website and any other official Government sources for current advice/information and relaying regular updates of such information to staff, including providing clear advice to workers about actions they should take if they become unwell or think they may have the symptoms of coronavirus;
having a plan in place to respond to the issues created by the pandemic, such as planning to manage staff absences;
reviewing exposure and infection control policies and procedures, actively promoting social distancing, good hand and respiratory hygiene and increasing cleaning of common areas within the work environment;
developing and implementing a safe systems of work (in consultation with workers and/or their Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)) that take into account directions and advice provided by health authorities.


Compliance action In a statement of regulatory intent, SafeWork SA outlined the enforcement approach it and other regulators will take during the COVID-19 pandemic. It recognizes the exceptional circumstances that exist due to coronavirus and the impacts it can have on businesses in meeting their obligations. As such, it will take a supportive and educative approach provided that duty holders make genuine attempts to comply with requirements, but compliance is affected to due factors outside the control of an employer. Compliance action and enforcement activity will continue; however the focus will be on matters that pose serious risks to health and safety. Core administrative functions, such as processing high risk work licenses, will also continue. Specifically, it is agreed that no compliance action will be taken in relation to first aid training requirements (regulation 42 of the model WHS Regulations), where first aid training is not available because of COVID-19. Other duties that may be constrained by the pandemic include the provision include duties related to:
working from home arrangements; and
provision of hygiene products.

 

Companies can now access employee assistance programs and telehealth tips for pandemic

Abstract: Companies can now access Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and telehealth tips offered by ReturnToWork South Australia (RTW SA). The EAP and telehealth tips aim to help workers experiencing anxiety and depression relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Impact: Companies can now access Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and guidance for mental health/ psychological stress during the coronavirus pandemic offered by ReturnToWork South Australia (RTW SA). The EAP and guidance for mental health/ psychological stress during the coronavirus pandemic aim to help workers experiencing anxiety and depression relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, by providing accessible and free confidential support service for workers and tips for coping with COVID-19 anxiety.

Analysis: ReturnToWork South Australia (RTW SA) offers Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and telehealth tips to help workers with anxiety and depression relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. EAP Companies can now access EAP provided by RTW SA. EAP provides accessible and free confidential support services for workers. It can help workplaces adopt a more proactive, preventative approach to workplace mental health and assist in creating a culture of care. For further information, please see http://www.eapaa.org.au/. Telehealth tips Companies can also access and distribute the following tips to help workers cope with COVID-19 anxiety:
SA Health's fact sheet on the mental health impacts of COVID-19 (such as psychological distress, perceived stigmatization, and social isolation);
Beyond Blue guidance on maintaining mental health during the coronavirus outbreak (such as staying connected during the pandemic, ways to stay positive, and importance of self-care); and
the Australian Psychological Society's tips for coping with "coronavirus anxiety" (such as keeping things in perspective, taking reasonable precautions, and practicing self-care).
Information on employee assistance program is available online.

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ARGENTINA

National

Companies exporting certain products and substances used in the health and pharmaceutical industries must obtain a special export permit during the COVID-19 crisis

Abstract: As of 7 April 2020, companies exporting products or substances related to the health and pharmaceutical industries (such as oxygen therapy devices and their elements, ethyl alcohol, or aluminum hydroxychlorides) must follow a specific procedure for obtaining an export permit. This is due to Resolution 140/2020, which sets out the procedure for obtaining the export permits required by Decree 301/2020 and 317/2020. The mentioned decrees aim to restrict the export of products and substances that are essential for facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Impact: If the company exports products and substances related to health and pharmaceutical industries that are listed in Decrees 301/2020 and 317/2020 (such as, ethyl alcohol, aluminum hydroxychloride, oxygen therapy devices and their components), it must obtain an export permit from the Ministry of Productive Development through the online platform Trámites a Distanca (TAD). The company must use the permit within 30 calendar days after it has been issued.

Analysis: On 7 April 2020, the Ministry of Productive Development (Ministerio de Desarrollo Productivo) published Resolution 140/2020, establishing the procedure for obtaining a permit for the export of certain products and substances related to the health and pharmaceutical industries. This follows from Decree 301/2020 and Decree 317/2020, which aim to restrict the export of some products and substances which are of utmost need for facing the COVID-19 crisis, among others:
oxygen therapy devices, including their parts and accessories;
ethyl alcohol;
carbon dioxide detector devices(capnograph); and
aluminum hydroxychlorides.


In this regard, the mentioned decrees set out the obligation of obtaining an export permit for the export of the affected products and substances.Companies interested in the export of these products must:
be registered with the Ministry of Production Unique Registry (Registro Único del Ministerio de Producción -RUMP);
access to the online platform Trámites a Distancia (TAD); and
fill the Export Permit Request for Decrees 301/20 and 317/20 (Solicitud de Permiso de Exportación para Decretos Nº 301/20 y 317/20); and
complete the form included in Annex II of Resolution 140/2020 (indicating, among others, the type of product, quantity, and price).
Companies must submit permit request to the Export Direction (Dirección de Exportaciones) dependent on the Sub-Secretariat of Commercial Policy and Management (Subsecretaría de Política y Gestión Comercial) of the Ministry of Productive Development. Nonetheless, the request will also be reviewed by the Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud), which will evaluate within 10 days and provide an answer depending on the internal supply situation of the involved products. The export permits are valid for 30 calendar days after their issuance dates. Companies must export the products or substances before the expiration date of the permit; otherwise, they will have to request a new export permit. The obligation to obtain an export permit for these products will be in force until the end of the sanitary emergency caused by COVID-19 (13 March 2021). Resolution 140/2020, setting out the procedure for obtaining a permit for exporting substances and products related to the health and pharmaceutical industries during the COVID-19 sanitary crisis, is available online in Spanish.

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AUSTRALIA

Federal

Companies can now consult info-graphic for specific steps to be taken if a covid-19 case is confirmed or suspected in the workplace

Abstract: Companies can consult an info-graphic published by Safe Work Australia to advise workplaces on the steps they should take if a worker comes down with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Business Impact: Companies can consult a new infographic explaining the required steps to be taken in case of a confirmed or suspected covid-19 case whether inside or outside the workplace. For example, the company should inform the relevant health officials, identify people at the workplace that could have come into contact with the infected individual and clean areas affected by the person and his contacts.

Analysis: On 7 April 2020, an easy to follow info-graphic for suspected or confirmed cases of covid-19 in the workplace was published. The document aims to provide clear and effective steps to be taken when a covid-19 case is suspected or confirmed in or outside the workplace, avoiding spread and risk to other employees or the public. If there is a confirmed/suspected case at work, the info-graphic requires 7 steps:
isolate the person;
inform the relevant health officials;
transport the person to their home or health facility;
clean areas affected by the person;
identify people in contact with infected person;
clean areas affected by people in contact with the person; and
review risk management controls related to covid-19.
If there is a confirmed/suspected case not at work when diagnosed, the info-graphic requires 4 steps:
inform the relevant health officials;
identify people at the workplace in contact with infected person;
clean areas affected by the person and his contacts; and
review risk management controls related to covid-19.
Suspected or confirmed case of covid-19 at work - Infographic is available online.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Employers can consult new guidance regarding employee mental health during COVID-19 context

Abstract: Companies can consult a new guidance regarding employees mental health specifically published to tackle potential mental health issues that can affect employees in general during the covid-19 outbreak.

Business Impact: Companies can now consult the new guidance for looking after employee mental health during the Covid-19 outbreak in order to help them manage the risk to mental health during this time and provide effective support to all employees.

Analysis: On 8 April 2020, COVID-19 coronavirus guidance for employers: Looking after employee mental health was published in Western Australia. The guidance was issued taking into consideration the potential impact of the COVID-19 situation in general on the mental health of employees, therefore, providing recommendations for employers on how to support their employees during this period. The guidance provides three main points considered essential for an effective support strategy: 1- managing risk factors by staying informed of all the covid-19 updates and implementing all necessary measures enforced or recommended by the relevant authorities; 2- Leading during uncertainty which can translate into appropriate and more empathetic communication approach; 3- Supportive management and supervisory practices, such as considering flexible work arrangements and maintaining regular communication. COVID-19 coronavirus guidance for employers: Looking after employee mental health is available online.

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ESTONIA

Facilities must comply with additional requirements for ventilation of buildings

Abstract: As of 7 April 2020, facilities have to comply with stricter ventilation requirements (such as keeping the ventilation system on at all times during the state of emergency, including in the evenings and on weekends) published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (Majandus- ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium) during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

Business Impact: If the facility is operating during the state of emergency, it must not switch off the ventilation system in the building, even during times when the building is not in use, and let the ventilation system operate in the evenings and during the weekend as of 7 April 2020. It must switch off all room-based recirculating cooling or heating devices (such as heat convector blower, fan coil unit, or split air conditioner), unless its operation is necessary in maintaining a certain room temperature.

Analysis: On 6 April 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (Majandus- ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium) published additional requirements during a state of emergency for non-residential buildings in order to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) transmitting through the air circulation of buildings. Additional precautions must be taken by facilities indoors, as the spread of the coronavirus through fine particles formed by the evaporation of droplets must not be ruled out. As fine particles fly in the air and travel long distances, maintaining a safety distance of 2 meters indoors might not be enough if there is a high concentration of fine particles in the room. Risk increases in crowded rooms where there is insufficient ventilation. Ventilation system As of 7 April 2020, facilities must not switch off the ventilation system (hoone ventilatsioonisüsteem) during the state of emergency, even during times when the building is not in use. The ventilation system must also operate in the evenings and during the weekend with the designed (100%) capacity, for example with the normal day mode, or at a reduced capacity of at least 40%. A reduced capacity ventilation system must be switched to the designed capacity at least 2 hours before the building or part of the building is being used. Recirculation ventilation systems (retsirkulatsiooniga ventilatsioonisüsteem), which are for example used in warehouses, must be checked properly. The recirculation ventilation system must be 100% switched on to the outside air to prevent the possible return of viruses through the ventilation system. With any other ventilation system, the air supply and exhaust settings must be checked, so that the ventilation system is able to extract air without directing it back. In buildings without an indoor ventilation system, rooms must be ventilated intensively. This should be done at least once an hour and for 15 minutes before several people enter the room. A room-based recirculating cooling or heating device (ruumipõhine ringlusõhuga jahutus- või kütteseade) (such as heat convector blower, fan coil unit, or split air conditioner) must be switched off. Exceptions are allowed when the device cannot be switched off or its operation is necessary in maintaining a certain room temperature. In such a case, a constant flow of air through the device must be ensured. If the fan coil unit is switched on, it must be reconfigured, so that the fan does not switch off on its own, to prevent the virus from accumulating in the filter. Applicability The above mentioned requirements apply to all non-residential buildings as of 7 April 2020. The requirements do not apply if the facility is not operating at least 60%. The requirements will also not apply to facilities, which are temporarily closed and not in use during the state of emergency, as the ventilation of an empty building is not necessary.

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INDONESIA

Companies can apply for an operating and industrial activity mobility permit to conduct their industrial activities in times of COVID-19

Abstract: As of 9 April 2020, companies can apply for an operating and industrial activity mobility permit to continue their industrial activities in times of COVID-19. This is due to the Circular Letter of the Ministry of Industry No. 7 of 2020 on Guide to Apply for Permit to Conduct Industrial Activities in Times of Health Emergency COVID-19. The Circular Letter allows companies to operate their business by obtaining an operating and industrial activity mobility permit, and it provides a step-by-step guide for companies to apply for the permit.

Business Impact: If the company wishes to operate its business during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can apply for an operating and industrial activity mobility permit. This is due to the Circular Letter of the Ministry of Industry No. 7 of 2020 on Guide to Apply for Permit to Conduct Industrial Activities in Times of Health Emergency COVID-19. The permit applies to factories, office administration, and industrial mobility related to raw materials, supporting materials, finished goods, and/ or workers. Companies interested in applying for the permit can apply online through https://siinas.kemenperin.go.id/.

Analysis: On 9 April 2020, the Ministry of Industry issued the Circular Letter of the Ministry of Industry No. 7 of 2020 on Guide to Apply for Permit to Conduct Industrial Activities in Times of Health Emergency COVID-19. The Circular Letter allows companies opting to continue to operate their business by obtaining an operating and industrial activity mobility permit in times of COVID-19 pandemic. Operating and industrial activity mobility permit Companies can operate their business by obtaining an operating and industrial activity mobility permit. This permit is applicable to factories, office administration, and industrial mobility related to raw materials, supporting materials, finished goods, and/ or workers. To obtain an operating and industrial activity mobility permit, companies can apply online through the Socialization of National Industrial Information Systems (SIINas) SIINas website. The permit is applicable only in times of health emergency COVID-19. The step-by-step guide and the sample of an operating and industrial activity mobility permit is available on the Annex of the Circular Letter. Circular Letter of the Ministry of Industry No. 7 of 2020 on Guide to Apply for Permit to Conduct Industrial Activities in Times of Health Emergency COVID-19 is available online.

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UNITED KINGDOM

England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland- Companies are required to report workplace exposure to the coronavirus as a dangerous occurrence under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)

Abstract: As of 7 April 2020, companies must report occupational exposure to the coronavirus as a dangerous occurrence under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). This is not a requirement when someone contracts coronavirus through person to person contact, moreover reporting is required when an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus according to clarification released by the Health and Safety Executive.

Business Impact: If the company operates a laboratory handing samples of the coronavirus, it must report accidental occupational exposure to the coronavirus to RIDDOR. The company is required to report under RIDDOR, as defined as exposure to a biological agent when:
an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence;
an employee has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work; or
an employee dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
Furthermore, fatalities as a result of exposure to coronavirus in the workplace must be reported within 10 days of the death.

Analysis: As clarified on 7 April 2020 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), companies must report occupational exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19) under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR, if the exposure occurred as a result of an accident in the workplace, according to guidance published by the HSE. If an accident occurs in the workplace which results in (or could result in) the release or escape of coronavirus, companies must report this as a dangerous occurrence. An example of a dangerous occurrence would be a lab worker accidentally smashing a glass vial containing coronavirus, leading to others being exposed. Reporting is required under RIDDOR, as defined as exposure to a biological agent, when:
an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence;
an employee has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work; or
an employee dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
Furthermore, fatalities as a result of exposure to coronavirus in the workplace must be reported within 10 days of the death.

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BELGIUM BRUSSELS

Capital Region

Procedural deadlines for permit (re-)applications and other procedures have been suspended for 1 month (COVID-19)

Abstract: As of 16 March 2020, facilities (re-)applying for an environmental permit (milieuvergunning // permis d’environnement) must be aware of the suspension for 1 month of all procedural deadlines, such as due dates, appeal periods or any other procedural period that has legal consequences, following the COVID-19 outbreak. The suspension can be extended twice with the same duration by Royal Order of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region.

Business Impact: If the facility has recently applied or intends to apply for a building or environmental permit or is involved in other formal procedures with the Brussels authorities, it must be aware of the suspension of all due dates, procedural periods or other procedural deadlines that have legal consequences for 1 month. The suspension has been introduced by the Mandate Royal Order of 2 April 2020 and aims to safeguard the procedural rights and legal certainty for facilities and citizens in Brussels during the COVID-19 outbreak. The suspension includes, among others:
any procedural aspects for a building or environmental permit application (such as public consultations, project meetings, decision deadlines, appeal deadlines and so forth) are suspended if the quarantine measures prevent such events from taking place;
the deadlines for re-applying for a building or environmental permit are suspended; and
administrative fines and their appeal periods are suspended.


The suspension is in force as of 16 March 2020 and for the duration of 1 month. By Royal Order of the Brussels-Capital Region Government, the suspension can be extended twice by 1 month.

Analysis: On 2 April 2020, the Mandate Royal Order (2020/001) with regard to the temporary suspension of the due dates and appeal periods laid down in the Brussels' legislation and regulations or which have been introduced on the basis thereof (the Mandate Royal Order) was announced by the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region. The Mandate Royal Order suspends all deadlines (due date, appeal periods or any other procedural period that has legal consequences) as of 16 March 2020 for the duration of one month. The suspension can be extended twice with the same duration by Royal Order of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region. Environmental permit
Facilities operating in the Brussels-Capital Region must have an environmental permit (milieuvergunning // permis d’environnement) for classified installations (Class I.A, I.B and II) for their:
operation;
relocation;
entry into operation (if it occurs two years or more after the initial environmental permit was issued);
re-entry into operation of a permitted facility after two or more years of consecutive interruption;
continuing operation of a facility of which the permit has expired;
operation of a facility not previously classified in Classes I.A, I.B or II.
Environmental permits are valid for 15 years and may be renewed for the same period of time upon request.

Building permit
The Brussels Urban Planning Code requires facilities to hold a building permit (permis d’urbanisme // stedenbouwkundige vergunning) to build, extend, modify and demolish or re-build a facility. It is issued by the municipality (Collège des Bourgmestre et Echevins // College van Burgemeester en Schepenen). A building permit is not required for ordinary maintenance work, or for exemptions listed in the Brussels Region Order of 13 November 2008 establishing the activities and work which are exempted from the building permit (for instance, solar panels, green roofs, providing a flat roof with insulation and the installation of surveillance cameras under certain conditions).
A building permit ceases to be valid if the authorized activity is not carried on within 2 years after its issuance. The licensee can request its extension for an extra year.

Suspension of deadlines
As of 16 March 2020, the Mandate Royal Order suspends all due dates, appeal periods and other procedural deadlines that have legal consequences for 1 month. This has the following consequences regarding the (re-)application for a building or environmental permit by facilities:
any procedural aspects for a permit application (such as public consultations, project meetings, decision deadlines, appeal deadlines and so forth) are suspended if the quarantine measures prevent such events from taking place; and
the deadlines for re-applying for a permit are suspended for 1 month. For example, the application for an extension of an environmental permit that expires on March 20, 2021 must normally be submitted by March 20, 2020. The suspension of deadlines by the Mandate Royal Order allows the applicant to exceed the deadline of 20 March 2020 for the renewal application. For authorisations (toelatingen // autorisations) that expire during the quarantine period and require a formality (no indication is given as to which formalities this applies) to be extended, the period of validity is extended by the duration of the quarantine measures.
Furthermore, any procedural deadlines applicable on the basis of Brussels' legislation and regulations are suspended. For example deadlines or procedural periods for:
administrative fines and their appeal periods; and
periodic checks and monitoring (regarding environmental permits).

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FINLAND

COVID-19 related standards temporarily available free of charge for facilities

Abstract: As of 8 April 2020, manufacturers can access and use any COVID-19 related standards of the Finnish Standards Association SFS (Suomen Standardisoimisliitto) free of charge.

Business Impact: Facilities interested in standards related to COVID-19 (such as guidelines and requirements for protective equipment and clothing for the healthcare and medical devices) can now temporarily request them free of charge online through the Finnish Standards Association SFS web-page.

Analysis: On 8 April 2020, the Finnish Standards Association SFS (Suomen Standardisoimisliitto) published an article on summarised information in regards to temporarily free standards relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). SFS Standards SFS makes standards related to COVID-19 temporarily available free of charge for manufacturers. A list of all temporarily free standards can be found on the COVID-19 and standards page. The International Electrotechnical Commission IEC (sähköalan standardisointijärjestö) provides standards temporarily free of charge as well. They can be found on the SFS webstore. The available standards can be helpful to manufacturers, for example by providing guidelines and requirements for protective equipment and clothing for the healthcare and medical devices. The standards also provide solutions in preparing for a crisis, such as the coronavirus epidemic. SFS in cooperation with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and European Committee for Standardization (CEN) also provide free standards to help defeat the coronavirus epidemic. This is done, in hope of making it easier for new manufacturers to bring sufficient and enough products to the market. ISO standards available for free can be found on the ISO web-page. Some of the temporarily free standards include the following:
Medical devices - Quality management systems -Requirements for regulatory purposes;
Security and resilience. Business continuity management systems. Requirements; and
Risk management. Guidelines.


Access to SFS standards By contacting SFS customer service at sales@sfs.fi and by providing the necessary information (first name, last name, organization, e-mail address), the standards can be opened in the online service. It is also possible to call them on +41 22 919 02 11 between 09:00 – 17:00 CET. The SFS standards can only be made available through the online service, and they are available to be read only in pdf-format, they cannot be printed nor distributed.

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LUXEMBOURG

Authorization for activities involving ionizing radiation remain valid amidst coronavirus pandemic

Abstract: As of 1 April 2020, authorizations for operations involving ionizing radiation that were supposed to expire after 1 March 2020 remain valid until the end of the state of emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business Impact: If the company is authorized for its activities involving ionizing radiation and the authorization is supposed to expire after 1 March 2020, it can now expect that the authorization remains valid until 24 July 2020. The company will then have until 24 September 2020 to introduce and process its authorizations application.

Analysis: On 1 April 2020, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg adopted Grand-ducal regulation of 1 April 2020 derogating from law of 28 May2019 on radiation protection.It entered into force as of 1 April 2020 and is relevant for the following companies:
companies manufacturing, processing, handling, selling, transferring, storing, using, warehousing, holding, transporting, importing, exporting, recycling and reusing radioactive materials;
companies manufacturing, selling, owning and operating electrical equipment capable of emitting ionizing radiation and containing components capable of operating at a potential difference greater than 5 kilovolts
companies where there is a potential exposure of workers or members of the public to radon inside buildings, external exposure to building materials and cases of long-term exposure resulting from an emergency or human activity anterior; and
humans activities involving the presence of natural sources of radiation which result in a significant increase in the exposure of workers or members of the public


The Grand-ducal regulation of 1 April 2020 provides an exception to the lapse of the authorizations required for activities mentioned above, in accordance with the Law of 28 May 2019, in case the validity of the authorization expires after 1 March 2020. Such authorizations remain valid during the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is set to end on 24 July 2020. Furthermore, at the end of the state of emergency, companies will still have 2 months (until 24 September 2020) to complete and process their application for the authorization.

 

Authorized facilities benefit from an extended deadline to report their activities

Abstract: As of 23 March 2020, companies that must report their activities for classified facilities, waste management, industrial emissions and major accidents involving dangerous substances to the Environmental Authority (Autorité Environnementale) can benefit from an extended deadline following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Business Impact: If the facility is authorized under the classified installation, the waste management, the industrial emissions or the hazardous substances related laws, it can benefit from a delay to report on its activities until the end of the global outbreak created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Analysis: On 19 March 2020, the Minister of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development (Ministre de l’Environnement, du Climat et du Développement durable), published a Ministerial Order of 19 March 2020 suspending certain environmental and deadlines. It entered into force on 23 March 2020 and is relevant for classified installations, waste management facilities, industrial emitters and companies where there could be a risk of major accidents involving dangerous substances. The Ministerial Order suspends the deadlines for submitting reports to the attention of the Environmental Authority (Autorité environnementale) on the activities of facilities authorized under the following laws:
the amended law of 10 June 1999on classified establishments;
theamended law of 21 March 2012on waste;
theamended law of 9 May 2014on industrial emissions; or
thelaw of 28 April 2017on major accidents involving dangerous substances;
This suspension will last until the cessation of the emergency situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure only stops the course without erasing the time that has already run.

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UNITED STATES

Missouri

Any person residing in Missouri must stay at home or their place of residence

Abstract: Effective at 12:01 am on 6 April 2020, all individuals residing in Missouri must stay at home, except to work; to access food, prescriptions, health care, and other necessities; to engage in outdoor activity; or to access a place of worship.

Business Impact: If the company is not an essential business, it must comply with social gathering and social distance requirements. The company must not allow more than 10 individuals to occupy a single space. The company must inform employees to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others. If the company is an essential business, it must limit the number of individuals to 25 percent or less of the fire or building code if the building is less than 10,000 square feet or it must limit the number of individuals to 10 percent or less if the building is larger than 10,000 square feet. Further, the company should encourage employees to practice good hygiene and sanitation. Also, the company is encouraged to allow individuals to work from home.

Analysis: Effective at 12:01 am on 6 April 2020, Governor Michael Parson’s stay at home order requires all individuals residing in Missouri to stay at their place of residence. Individuals may leave their homes or residences only to work, to access food, prescriptions, health care, and other necessities, to engage in outdoor activity, or to access a place of worship. This will be in effect through 24 April 2020. Restrictions on Essential Business Essential businesses must limit the number of individuals to 25 percent or less of the fire or building code for a location with less than 10,000 square feet. Essential businesses must limit the number of individuals to 10 percent or less of the fire or building code for a building with more than 10,000 square feet. Employees onsite should take all necessary precautions to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including practicing social distancing except when performance of job duties require otherwise. Examples of what is considered essential business includes:
Healthcare workers and caregivers;
Law enforcement, fire fighters, and first responders;
Government operations;
Mental health and Social Service workers;
Pharmacy employees;
Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail sales of food and beverage products;
Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees;
Farmworkers;
Electricity and Utility Industry Employees;
Critical Manufacturing Employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals);
Petroleum, Natural and Propane Gas Workers;
Transportation and Logistics Workers; and
Communications and Information Technology Employees.


Restrictions on Nonessential Business Nonessential businesses must comply with social gathering and social distance requirements. Social gatherings mean any planned or spontaneous event or convening that would bring together more than 10 people in a single space at the same time. Nonessential businesses must abide by the social distancing requirements by having all individuals stay at least 6 feet apart from any other individual.

 

Michigan

Employers must not discharge, discipline or retaliate against an employee for staying home

Abstract: Effective 3 April 2020, employers are prohibited from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating employees for staying home when they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with a person who tested positive. People in Michigan are ordered to stay home until 3 days from the date their COVID-19 symptoms have resolved after tested positive and must self-quarantine for 14 days after they had close contact with a positive case of COVID-19.

Business Impact: As of 3 April 2020, the company is prohibited from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating employees for staying home to comply with the self-quarantine period of Executive Order 2020-36. The Executive Order, for example, requires individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to stay home until 3 days from the date their symptoms. The Executive Order also requires individuals to self-quarantine for 14 days when they develop symptoms, or they have had close contact with a person with symptoms. The Executive Order 2020-36 will remain effective until the end of the states of emergency in Michigan.

Analysis: On 4 April 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-36, in order to provide protection for Michigan workers against workplace discrimination that may arise when they have to comply with self-quarantine periods. This order will stay effective until the end of the states of emergency in Michigan. Background On 23 March 2020, Michigan Governor issued Executive Order 2020-21, requiring all people to stay home and to maintain social distancing. This Executive Order required companies to cease in-person operations with some exceptions. The Executive Order 2020-36 orders certain people to self-quarantine and remain in their home or place of residence, even if they are otherwise permitted to leave under Executive Order 2020-21. Executive Order 2020-36 Required Self Quarantine Duration The Executive Order 2020-36 requires all people who test positive for COVID-19 or display symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home or place of residence until:
3 days since one or more principal symptoms have resolved; and
7 days since symptoms first appeared or since they were tested, which yielded the positive case.
Additionally, the following individuals are required to stay home until 14 days since the last close contact with the symptomatic individual, or until the symptomatic individual is tested negative:
Individuals who have had close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19;
Individuals who display one or more principal symptoms of COVID-19.
The principal symptoms include fever, atypical cough, or atypical shortness of breath. The close contact means being within 6 feet of an individual for a prolonged period of time. Exceptions The above self-quarantine period does not apply for the following group of workers:
Health care professionals.
Workers at a health care facility;
First responders;
Child protective service employees;
Workers at child caring institutions; and
Workers at correctional facilities.
Employers Must Not Retaliate The Executive Order prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against employees who stay home to self quarantine as ordered by the Executive Order. Employers must allow workers to stay home for the self-quarantine period listed above. Employers must treat such employees as if they are taking medical leave under the Paid Medical Leave Act. However, employers are free to discharge or discipline an employee once the employee is allowed to return to work after the self-quarantine period but declines to do so and as long as if such discipline or discharge is lawful. The Executive Order clarifies that it does not create a private right of action against an employer for failing to comply with this order. More Information The Executive Order 2020-36, is available here.

 

West Virginia

Companies must comply with state-wide stay-at-home order as well as additional measures required in 6 counties

Abstract: As of 24 March 2020, as part of the state's COVID-19 response, all companies and their employees must comply with a state-wide stay at home order prohibiting travel except for essential activities (including travel to operate or work at an essential business) and non-essential businesses must cease operations except for minimum basic operations and telework. Companies in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Harrison, Kanawha, and Monongalia must also comply with more restrictive stay-at-home orders such as requirements on essential businesses to utilize telework procedures to the maximum extent possible.

Business Impact: On 23 March 2020, Governor Justice issued Executive Order No. 9-20 ordering companies and their employees to limit travel and closing non-essential businesses in response to the ongoing COVID-19 state of emergency. On 3 April 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 20-20 imposing heightened response measures in Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties. On 4 April 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 21-20 imposing similar heightened requirements on Harrison, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties. The state-wide orders came into effect 24 March 2020. Executive Orders Nos. 20-20 and 21-20 came into effect 4 April and 5 April 2020, respectively. The COVID-19 executive orders are effective until terminated by subsequent executive order. Background For the purposes of these three executive orders, essential businesses include, among others: - businesses listed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response; - healthcare, public health operations, and health insurance companies, including health research and development, manufacture, and supply chain; - grocery stores and pharmacies; - food, beverage, and agriculture operations, so long as food service facilities provide only for off-premises consumption of food; - essential infrastructure, including fulfillment centers, food storage facilities, utilities, and waste management; - coal mining and coal-fired electric generation facilities and support functions; and - manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. 

Executive Order No. 9-20 Non-essential travel prohibited As of 24 March 2020, companies may only require employees to travel for essential activities. Essential activities include, among other things: - travel to and from an essential business for employment reasons; and - travel to and from a non-essential business only to conduct limited business permitted under the order. Closure of Non-Essential Businesses All companies not deemed essential businesses must cease on-site operations except to perform minimum basic operations. Minimum basic operations are limited to: - activities necessary to maintain the value of the business's inventory; - preserving the condition of the business's facilities and equipment; - ensuring security; - processing payroll and employee benefits; - facilitating remote work by other employees. Companies that perform non-essential operations not at an office may continue to operate so long as any employees or contractors perform activities only from their own residences. Additionally, businesses that do not invite the general public to their place of business and have five or fewer employees in the office may continue to operate, provided they ensure that proper social distancing and hygiene practices are maintained.

County-Specific Requirement on Essential Businesses Companies that operate essential businesses in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Harrison, Kanawha, or Monongalia county must require their employees and contractors to work remotely to the maximum extent possible. This requirement came into effect 4 April 2020 in Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties. This requirement came into effect 5 April 2020 for businesses in Harrison, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties. This more stringent requirement may be imposed on additional counties as Governor Justice issues orders to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state.

More Information Executive Order Nos. 9-20 (establishing the general stay-at-home order), 20-20 (Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties), and 21-20 (Harrison, Kanawha, and Monongalia counties) are available on the West Virginia Governor's website.

 

Summary

Keep in mind that the above information is constantly developing and that employers must continue to check local authorities for the most up to date information. If you want more information on our forecaster service, please contact us below.

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