Public and Community Buildings

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Nov 6, 2020

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

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

Please note: This document may be updated as additional information and resources become available. 

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 steps. Other governing bodies and associations may release further guidance for specific types of public and community buildings. Libraries, in particular, should refer to the checklist published by the Maine Library Commission for further guidance: COVID-19 Prevention Checklist – Public Library Guidance.


  • The number of individuals that can gather in a shared space must not exceed the limit established by the Governor’s Executive Order.
    • 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.
  • Limit the total occupancy of buildings to 5 visitors or patrons per 1,000 square feet of visitor-accessible space. (Updated 6/17/20)
    • While 5 visitors or patrons per 1,000 square feet is the maximum number at this time, managers should consider the following factors that can increase transmission risk in their building and may decide to set a lower capacity limit, such as 3 per 1,000 square feet, if present:
      • Poor ventilation, i.e. little outside air circulating in
      • Confined spaces that make physical distancing difficult
  • 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.
  • Require all staff, vendors, and visitors to wear a face covering, per Executive Order. Face coverings are not required when individuals are alone in personal offices (see next section for additional details). (Updated 11/6/20)
  • Place signage at entrances and throughout buildings (particularly high traffic areas such as service counters and information desks) alerting staff and visitors to required occupancy limits, physical distancing requirements, and face covering policies.
  • Inform patrons of your COVID-19 policies and procedures in advance, if possible, via website, newsletters, social media assets, newspaper, etc.
  • Provide services and conduct business by phone or internet to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Consider installing non-porous physical barriers such as partitions or plexiglass barriers to protect visitors and staff. Barriers should be placed 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.
  • Limit activities that require staff and/or visitors to enter within 6 feet of another person, regardless of whether physical barriers are installed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Use digital rather than paper formats to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Remove all unnecessary items such as brochures, magazines, newspapers, and any other unnecessary paper products from common areas.
  • Minimize shared touch surfaces such as pens, tablets, receipts, etc.
  • To the greatest extent practicable, implement hours where service can be safely provided to individuals at higher risk for severe illness.
  • If municipal space is used for other activities, those activities should follow appropriate guidelines for that activity (e.g. fitness, community gatherings, etc.).
  • 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.
    • 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 social distancing, and self-monitor until 14 days from the last date of exposure.

Additional Guidance for Office Settings (Added 11/6/20)

  • Telework is an encouraged strategy 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.
  • 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 distancing between participants and use of masks/face coverings. Shorter meetings (<15 minutes) are encouraged over longer meetings.
  • 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.
    • Workstations should allow for at least 6 feet of physical distancing between workers.
    • Workers should wear a mask or cloth face covering when at the worksite, including when entering and exiting the workspace, at their workstation, and anytime they are moving around a common area (e.g., in hallways and stairwells, going to the restroom or break room, etc.).
    • Organizations may consider allowing the temporary removal of face coverings in the following situations:
      • When a person is alone in an enclosed office or other room
      • When a person is alone in a cubicle with walls that are at least tall enough to block line-of-sight and is at least 6 feet from any other individual
        • While standing at a standing desk, a person should wear a face covering if the cubicle wall does not block line-of-sight from that position
      • 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
    • Workers should have a face covering 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.


  • Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to allow for physical distancing.
  • 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 staff and visitors.
  • Post handwashing signs in all restrooms.
  • 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.


  • Staff should consider whether they can work safely in a facility 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
  • Require employees to practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing, especially after contact with patrons/visitors and high-touch surfaces.
  • Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding.
  • Adjust seating in break rooms and other common areas to reflect physical distancing practices.
  • Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable.
  • Limit in-person gatherings or meetings of employees to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Limit interactions between employees and outside visitors or delivery drivers; implement touchless receiving practices if possible.
  • Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
  • Discourage employees from using colleagues’ phones, desks, workstations, radios, handhelds/wearables, or other office tools and equipment.
  • Provide employees training on:
  • Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.


  • Promote “contactless” payment options (e.g., online payments, pay by phone options, RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.)
  • 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.
  • 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:

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.

If you have questions, please contact us at or 1-800-872-3838.