COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance
Last updated: Mar 5, 2021
The State of Maine has adopted a staged approach, supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration, to allow Maine businesses to safely open when the time is right. The plan is available at www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine.
This is one of many industry guidance documents the State is preparing for businesses so they can be prepared to meet health guidelines and reopen safely. Please make sure you pair this document with the general guidance document that applies to all industries, which is available on maine.gov/decd.
Please note: This document may be updated as additional information and resources become available.
For the purposes of this document, in-home service providers include home delivery, contractors, repair, and installation professionals such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and exterminators; house cleaners, and cooks/personal chefs. This document is guidance for employers. An employer includes hiring entities, individuals, households, and businesses that directly or indirectly pay an individual to provide in-home services.
- Require all employees to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group whenever possible.
- Require all employees to wear a face covering, per CDC recommendations and pertinent Executive Orders from the Office of the Governor. Because employees may be in an enclosed space with other individuals for a prolonged period, it is strongly recommended to wear face coverings even when physically distanced.
- Any service provider present in the home must wear a cloth face covering for the duration of their time in the home. Any home owner should wear a face covering when physical distancing is not possible.
- Additional information about proper use of face coverings is available from the CDC (see: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19).
- The number of individuals that can gather in a shared space must not exceed the limit established by the Governor’s Executive Order.
- If a space cannot accommodate the gathering limit without complying with the six-foot distancing requirement, occupancy must be limited to allow for such compliance.
- Indoor gatherings and in-store customer limits as further established by the Governor's Executive Order are subject to the following limits: (Updated 3/5/21)
- Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons (or 5 people per 1,000 square feet for retail establishments), whichever is greater.
- Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons (or 5 people per 1,000 square feet for retail establishments), whichever is greater.
- Employees should consider whether they can work safely if they have any of these conditions and managers should discuss potential risks for individuals with the following:
- People 65 or older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled including:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised: Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
- People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
- Employees should stay at home if they are sick. Supervisors should ask all employees to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before each shift using either of the following approaches:
- Use an electronic or app-based self-screening form, such as the Coronavirus Self-Checker available on the federal CDC’s homepage.
- Self-screen using the following questions:
- Do you feel ill or have you been caring for someone who is ill?
- In the past two weeks, have you been exposed to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?
- Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
- Provide employees training on:
- hand hygiene
- physical distancing guidelines and expectations
- monitoring personal health
- proper wear, removal, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- laundering of face coverings and uniforms: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect: Laundry (CDC)
- cleaning protocols, including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies: Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)
- Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.
- Require employees to practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing, especially after contact with other individuals or high-touch surfaces.
Office or Retail Locations
- Limit in-person gatherings or meetings of employees to the greatest extent practicable.
- Conduct business by phone or internet to the greatest extent practicable.
- Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding.
- Adjust seating in break rooms and other common areas to promote physical distancing practices.
- Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable.
- Discourage employees from using colleagues’ phones, desks, workstations, radios, handhelds/wearables, or other office tools and equipment.
- Limit interactions between employees and outside vendors or delivery drivers; implement touchless receiving practices if possible.
- Request that vendors accessing the premises direct their employees to follow all physical distancing guidelines and health directives issued by the applicable public authorities.
- Place signage at entrances and throughout venue (particularly high traffic areas such as service counters) alerting employees and guests to required occupancy limits, physical distancing requirements, face covering policies, symptoms of COVID-19, and other health and hygiene reminders. The federal CDC has developed free, printable posters on these topics (see: Print Resources).
- It is strongly recommended that businesses remind customers that if they are ill (e.g. have a fever or cough) they should not visit. Signage reminding customers of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 is highly recommended.
- Ensure that staffing is sufficient to enable enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures and enforcement of new safety guidelines.
- Ensure adequate supplies (e.g., soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissue) to support healthy hygiene practices, including increased cleaning and disinfection procedures.
- Take steps to improve ventilation in any buildings on the premises.
- Increase the percentage of outdoor air (e.g., using economizer modes of HVAC operations) potentially as high as 100% (first verify compatibility with HVAC system capabilities for both temperature and humidity control as well as compatibility with outdoor/indoor air quality considerations).
- Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.
- Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.
- Consider using natural ventilation (i.e., opening windows if possible and safe to do so) to increase outdoor air dilution of indoor air when environmental conditions and building requirements allow.
- Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (for example, drinking fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of disease. Further guidance is available from the CDC (see: Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation).
- Consider restricting the use of water fountains to refill only with instruction for employees and customers to wash or sanitize hands after use.
- Consider installing non-porous physical barriers such as partitions or plexiglass barriers to protect employees and guests. Barriers should be placed at information desks, service counters, and other similar locations where it is not possible to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance.
- Limit activities that require individuals to enter within 6 feet of another person, regardless of whether physical barriers are installed.
- Modify building/venue traffic flow to minimize contact between employees, vendors, and customers. Use floor decals and/or signage to establish travel patterns.
- Consider one-way entrances and exits, if possible.
- Consider establishing one-way travel patterns through the venue.
- Minimize traffic in enclosed spaces, such as stairwells and other spaces that do not allow for appropriate physical distancing. Consider limiting the number of individuals in an elevator at one time and designating one directional stairwells.
- Ensure your First Aid protocols address how to manage customers or employees with COVID-19 symptoms. If an individual becomes ill in your building, have a plan for a room or space where the person can be isolated until transferred home or to a health care facility and provide a face covering or mask, if available and tolerated.
- For contact tracing purposes, to the extent practicable, establishments should maintain a record including contact information for employees and customers who have direct prolonged interaction.
- Based on current knowledge, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. Close contacts should stay home, maintain physical distancing, and self-monitor until 14 days from the last date of exposure.
- Establishments should promptly notify the Maine DHHS, CDC or any local health official if a they learn a worker has tested positive for COVID-19 and assist all such officials as reasonably requested to trace likely contacts and advise contacts to isolate and self-quarantine.
Restrooms in Office or Retail Locations
- Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to incorporate physical distancing and avoid formation of waiting lines outside of restrooms.
- Clean and disinfect restrooms on a regular and scheduled basis (see General Cleaning and Disinfecting section).
- Remove any items that do not have to be in the restrooms (e.g., magazines, decor).
- Consider establishing separate restrooms for employees and customers.
- Post handwashing signs in all restrooms. The federal CDC has developed free, printable posters that describe appropriate handwashing standards (see: Print Resources).
Operational Considerations for Providing In-Home Services
- Inform customers of your COVID-19 policies and procedures in advance. At the point of scheduling and again on the day of the service, employers/workers should assess potential exposures and circumstances in the home, to the extent possible, before worker entry.
- Ask customers if they or any occupants have symptoms of, have been diagnosed with, or have had recent contact with a person who has COVID-19, or are self-isolating. If any individuals in the home are under voluntary or required self-quarantine or isolation or are experiencing signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19, strongly consider rescheduling the service for at least 14 days in the future and not entering the dwelling.
- If work is urgent or emergency work, request that any individuals under voluntary or required self-quarantine or isolation or who are experiencing signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 remain physically separated from the worker (e.g., request that the sick person go into a different room, level of the home, or outside, is possible) and communicate remotely with the worker (e.g., by cell phone, through internet-based payments and electronic signatures or confirmation that work was completed). If possible, provide services remotely, such as advising them over a video call.
- When working in a home, workers should minimize contact with frequently touched items such as doorbells and door handles, as well as customers’ personal belongings to the extent possible.
- Occupants of the home should take steps to limit the amount of time workers must be in their home and minimize items the service worker will need touch in their home. Strategies to minimize shared touch points and expedite provision of services include:
- clearing all products from under a sink if a plumber need to access that area
- pulling furniture or other items away from a wall to provide access for an electrician or exterminator
- clearing a path from the exterior door of your home to the area being worked on
- All employees should drive to work site in a single occupant vehicle. If riding in separate vehicles is not possible, limit the number of individuals in the vehicle and distance as much as possible. Everyone in the vehicle should wash or sanitize their hands before entering and after exiting the vehicle and wear a cloth face covering for the duration of the ride. Avoid using the recirculated air option for the vehicle’s ventilation during transport; use the vehicle’s vents to bring in fresh outside air and/or lower the vehicle windows.
- If vehicles are used by multiple employees, clean and disinfect the steering wheel, seatbelts, consoles, and other frequent touchpoints as part of an end-of-shift or pre-trip routine.
- Whenever practicable, occupants of the home should be absent while in-home work is in progress. Persons present in the home while an in-home services professional is working should relocate to areas away from the worker.
- When on the job, workers should wear protective equipment appropriate for the activity being performed. Regardless of the activity performed, workers must always wear a face covering at a minimum.
- Eliminate handshaking and reduce other physical contact between employees and clients where possible.
- Keep interactions short. If unable to discuss important details virtually, keep your in-person interaction short and maintain at least six feet of physical distance throughout any conversation.
- Workers may consider using physical barriers (e.g., plastic sheeting, closed interior doors) when they need to occupy specific areas of a home for an extended period.
- Minimize or eliminate use of shared equipment and tools. If tools are shared, clean and disinfect them between use.
- Workers, employers, and any other individual present at the work site should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer regularly, before and after all interactions, before and after going to the bathroom, before and after eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose. Workers should wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) between deliveries/jobs.
- Workers should clean and disinfect any surfaces that will be regularly contacted throughout the duration of service.
- When the service is complete, workers should clean and disinfect all surfaces that were contacted during service.
- Clean and disinfect any tools or supplies used throughout service upon leaving the home.
- Minimize shared touch surfaces such as pens, tablets, receipts, etc.
- High-contact areas such as doorknobs, counters, and interactive displays should be cleaned frequently. Consider providing sanitizing wipes near these locations.
- Limit cash and paper receipt transactions; Promote “contactless” payment options (e.g., online payments, pay by phone options, RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.)
- Use digital rather than paper formats to the greatest extent practicable (e.g. electronic receipts and electronic signatures to confirm work was completed). If clipboards, pens, electronic signature pads or similar items are used, they should be disinfected between transactions.
- Wash hands or use alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling cash.
Cleaning and Disinfection
- Refer to the following documents for guidance on general cleaning and disinfection:
COVID-19 Prevention Form
In order to open, businesses must commit to complying with requirements of these checklists by filling out this short online form. Please note that religious organizations and licensed health care providers are not required to use this form.