Public and Community Buildings

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Apr 29, 2021

The State of Maine has adopted a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 guidance—supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration—to help Maine businesses and community organizations operate safely. As we enter the second year of the pandemic, these updated guidelines highlight the importance of employing multi-layered mitigation strategies to keep Maine businesses, employees, and residents as safe as possible from COVID-19 transmission. Public health guidance will continue to evolve as we learn which mitigation strategies most effectively reduce transmission risk.

No single measure or action will completely prevent transmission of COVID-19. Use of multiple strategies—sometimes called layered mitigation—provides greater protection than implementing a single strategy alone. When multiple mitigation strategies—including masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and ventilation—are consistently and correctly used, risk of transmission is decreased.

Please pair this Public and Community Buildings guidance with the general guidance available at https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists

For the latest information on travel policies and Executive Orders related to COVID-19 visit the Office of the Governor’s COVID-19 Response website: https://www.maine.gov/covid19.

Public and Community Buildings

Public and community settings include, but are not limited to, municipal and county offices and libraries. As local communities and governing bodies determine the best way to safely re-open services, this document and the COVID-19 Prevention Checklist General Guidance reflect baseline guidance. Other governing bodies and associations may release further guidance for specific types of public and community buildings.

Operations

  1. The number of individuals that can gather in a shared space must not exceed the limit established by the Governor’s Executive Order.
    1. People in a shared space must be able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance. If a space cannot accommodate individuals maintaining 6 feet of physical distance, further restrict the number of individuals allowed in that space beyond the limits established by Executive Order.
  2. Gathering limits as further established by the Governor's Executive Order are subject to the following limits:
    1. All indoor gathering limits:
      1. Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.
      2. Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons, whichever is greater.
  3. Require all staff, vendors, and visitors to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group whenever possible.
  4. Require all staff, vendors, and visitors to wear a mask, per Executive Order. Masks are required indoors and recommended outdoors when 6 feet of physical distance is difficult to maintain. (Updated 4/29/21)
  5. Place signage at entrances and throughout buildings (particularly high traffic areas such as service counters, information desks, break rooms, and other common areas) alerting staff and visitors to required occupancy limits, physical distancing requirements, and mask policies.
  6. Inform patrons of your COVID-19 policies and procedures in advance, if possible, via website, newsletters, social media assets, newspaper, etc.
  7. Provide services and conduct business by phone or internet to the greatest extent practicable.
  8. Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and take steps to improve ventilation in the building.
    1. 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).
    2. Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.
    3. Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.
  9. Use natural ventilation (i.e., opening windows if possible and safe to do so) when environmental conditions and building requirements allow.
  10. Consider relocating operations to outdoor spaces or other nontraditional venues that allow for increased airflow, if possible.
  11. Consider installing non-porous physical barriers such as partitions or plexiglass barriers to protect visitors and staff. Consider placing barriers at visitor information desks, service counters, and other similar locations where it is not possible to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance.
  12. Limit activities that require staff and/or visitors to enter within 6 feet of another person, regardless of whether physical barriers are installed.
  13. Eliminate waiting rooms and lines to the greatest extent practicable. Where lines are unavoidable, ensure 6 feet of distance between individuals. This can be accomplished by demarcating 6-foot distances on floors or walls.
  14. Modify building traffic flow to minimize contact between staff, contractors, and visitors; consider one-way entrances and exits, if possible. Use floor decals and/or signage to establish travel patterns.
  15. Minimize traffic in enclosed spaces, such as elevators and stairwells. Consider limiting the number of individuals in an elevator at one time and designating one directional stairwells, if possible.
  16. Use digital rather than paper formats to the greatest extent practicable.
  17. Minimize shared touch surfaces such as pens, tablets, receipts, etc.
  18. If municipal space is used for other activities, those activities should follow appropriate guidelines for that activity (e.g. fitness, community gatherings, etc.).
  19. For contact tracing purposes, to the extent practicable, establishments should maintain a record including contact information for visitors and staff who have direct prolonged interaction.
    1. Based on current scientific knowledge, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. An individual is also considered a close contact if they provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them), shared eating or drinking utensils, or if the person sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on them.

Additional Guidance for Office Settings

  1. Telework is encouraged to decrease the density of employees in the workplace, lower the risk of outbreaks, and allow for better utilization of space for those who cannot work remotely.
  2. Limit in-person gatherings or meetings of employees to the greatest extent practicable. Team meetings should be done remotely and if in person, with at least 6 feet of physical distance between participants and use of masks. Shorter meetings (<15 minutes) are encouraged over longer meetings.
  3. Per Executive Order, masks must be worn in portions of municipal, county, state, and private buildings that are typically accessible to the public, including lobbies, waiting areas, elevators, service desks, and related hallways, including government buildings privately owned and leased for government use. (Updated 4/29/21)
  4. When considering strategies to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, organizations must consider the configuration of their workspace. The following strategies are appropriate for indoor workspaces with an open floor plan and/or cubicles.
    1. Workstations should allow for at least 6 feet of physical distancing between workers.
    2. Organizations may consider allowing the temporary removal of masks in the following situations:
      1. When a person is alone in an enclosed office or other room
      2. When a person is eating or drinking in a space where eating or drinking is permitted and is at least 6 feet from any other individual
    3. Workers should have a mask available at all times in the event it is needed (e.g., if an individual enters another person’s office). Face-to-face interactions with people within 6 feet of each other in workspaces are discouraged.

Restrooms

  1. Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to allow for physical distancing.
  2. Clean and disinfect restrooms on a regular and scheduled basis (see General Cleaning and Disinfecting section).
  3. Consider establishing separate restrooms for staff and visitors.
  4. Post handwashing signs in all restrooms.
  5. Check with health officials for local ordinances and building codes if you intend to close public access to bathrooms in during initial stages of re-opening.

Employees

  1. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. For the most up to date information on this topic, see US CDC guidance on conditions that place individuals at increased risk of severe illness (see: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
  2. Require employees to practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing, especially after contact with patrons/visitors and high-touch surfaces.
  3. Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding.
  4. During activities when individuals need to remove their mask (i.e., when eating and drinking), they must remain physically distant from others. Adjust seating in break rooms and other common areas to reflect physical distancing practices.
  5. Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable.
  6. Limit in-person gatherings or meetings of employees to the greatest extent practicable.
  7. Make sure you have a safe process to receive supplies and other deliveries.
  8. Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
  9. Provide employees training on:
    1. physical distancing guidelines and expectations
    2. monitoring personal health
    3. proper wear, removal, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    4. laundering of cloth masks and uniforms: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect: Laundry (CDC)
    5. cleaning protocols, including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies: Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)
  10. Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.

Transactions

  1. Promote “contactless” payment options (e.g., online payments, pay by phone options, RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.).
  2. Where possible, card readers should be placed in front of physical barriers so visitors can swipe their own cards and enter their codes. Card readers and keypads should be cleaned and disinfected frequently. Hand sanitizer should be made available for visitors before and after transactions.
  3. Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling credit, debit, or identification cards, cash, or visitor paperwork.

General Cleaning and Disinfection

Refer to the following documents for guidance on general cleaning and disinfection:

  1. COVID-19 Prevention Checklist General Guidance (State of Maine)
  2. Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility (CDC)
  3. Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, if you have not already done so, please 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.

If you have questions, please contact us at business.answers@maine.gov or 1-800-872-3838.