State’s reopening guidelines confuse businesses

Jun 25, 2020
Written by wpengine

Some of the state’s guidelines to reopen from the COVID-19 virus outbreak have caused many businesses around Washington to seek clarification for allegedly being ambiguous or confusing.

Washington Retail’s VP of Operations & Retail Services Rose Gundersen and Senior VP of Policy & Government Affairs Mark Johnson were quoted in an article published by The Lens about this topic.

Johnson said Washington Retail has repeatedly sought clarification to clear up ambiguities or inconsistent regulations between Labor & Industries, the Department of Health and The Governor’s Office. Gundersen cited L&I and local health departments for having communicated inconsistent standards on the use of face masks.

Johnson, too, said Department of Health and L&I reopening guidelines sometimes don’t agree.

While it is understandable that all regulations are developmental in a pandemic world, state agencies’ efforts to re-invent the wheel with different compliance listings and standards separate from federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines create compliance landmines for businesses.

Instead, everyone would be better off if agencies balanced their desire for creating rules with finding sources to follow guidelines. This is especially essential because personal protective equipment and many other supplies are on backorders. For example, L&I requires a fitting test for workers who must wear N95 masks, but the department did not know where to obtain an N95 fitting test when asked. In fact, guidelines are issued without a delayed compliance date making most businesses out of compliance instantly.

In a lawsuit, The Building Industry of Washington (BIAW) has questioned the level of L&I fines for alleged violations of safety regulations.

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