COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Sep 30, 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 https://www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine.

This is one of many industry guidance documents the State is preparing for organizations so they can be prepared to meet health guidelines and operate 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. This guidance applies to establishments offering indoor and outdoor seasonal activities including, but not limited to: pick-your-own apples, pumpkins, and trees; corn mazes, hayrides, country fairs, sleigh rides, craft fairs, and haunted houses.

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

Establishments with Seasonal Activities

Employees

  1. Require employees to wear cloth face coverings and to practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing, especially between contact with customers and customer equipment.
  2. Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding.
  3. Ensure employees stay 6 feet apart wherever and whenever practical.
  4. Adjust seating in break rooms and other common areas to reflect physical distancing practices.
  5. Unnecessary gatherings or meetings of employees during working hours are strongly discouraged.
  6. Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable.
  7. Do not allow employee food in retail area. Employee drinks may be allowed if kept where customers cannot accidentally come into contact with them and employees sanitize their hands after handling the container.
  8. Best practice is to limit close interactions between all guests from different household groups, employees, and vendors; implement touchless interactive practices wherever and whenever possible.
  9. Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
  10. Discourage employees from using colleagues’ phones, desks, workstations, radios, handhelds/wearables, or other work tools and equipment.
  11. Provide employees training on the following topics:
    1. hand hygiene
    2. physical distancing guidelines and expectations
    3. proper wear, removal, disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    4. laundering of face coverings and uniforms as listed below
    5. cleaning protocols as listed below (or per CDC) including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies
    6. how to monitor personal health and body temperature at home
    7. guidance on how to launder cloth face coverings and uniforms: see CDC, Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect: Laundry
  12. Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.

Customers

  1. Customers must wear face coverings in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order.
  2. Inform your customers of your COVID policies and procedures in advance, if possible.
  3. Place signage at entrances and throughout the premises alerting staff and customers to the required occupancy limits, six feet of physical distance, and policy on face coverings.
  4. Support physical distance between customers and personnel by taping off 6 feet distance from counters, service desks, and sales stations.
  5. Consider installing plexiglass barriers to maximize physical distancing.
  6. Post signage if you have to limit quantities of certain items.
  7. Consider offering exclusive early hours to seniors and other high-risk individuals.
  8. Discourage people from touching merchandise they are not going to purchase.
  9. Consider adjusting store hours of operation, as necessary, to support physical distancing efforts by limiting traffic at your site of business.

Operations

  1. Retailers will limit the total occupancy of indoor retail space to 5 customers per 1,000 square feet of shopping space.
    • While 5 customers per 1,000 square feet is the maximum number at this time, owners and 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
  2. Provide distance markers located outside of retail space for times when capacity limits are exceeded; this will allow for queuing while maintaining physical distance; employees can also be assigned to assist customers with waiting to enter.
  3. Consider ways to maximize air flow, if practical, to increase fresh air circulation (e.g. opening windows or doors).
  4. Note that staff or customer use of elevators or escalators will require regular attention to physical distance guidelines and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces.
  5. Minimize shared touch surfaces such as kiosks, tablets, pens, credit cards, receipts and keys.
  6. Establish procedure for regularly disinfecting inventory and newly received deliveries.
  7. Establish protocols for handling and processing shipping and receipts (including disinfection).
  8. Advise workers, contractors, drivers, and vendors that they are required by Executive Order to wear face coverings while on the premises.
  9. Notify vendors of any revised protocol as it relates to store entry, deliveries, paperwork, etc.
  10. Consider implementing measures to ensure vendor safety, including:
    1. Disabling/suspending access (e.g., suspending all non-employee truck drivers from entering stores, warehouses and manufacturing plants).
    2. Transitioning to contactless signatures/e-signatures for deliveries.
    3. Where practical, adjusting store delivery windows to spread out deliveries.
  11. Request that vendors accessing your store locations direct their employees to follow all social distancing guidelines and health directives issued by the applicable public authorities.
  12. Require regular and frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, doors, PIN pads, and common areas that are accessible to staff, customers, and suppliers.
  13. Ensure operating hours allow downtime between shifts for thorough cleaning, when possible.
  14. Provide sanitization materials, such as sanitizing wipes, to employees to clean handhelds/wearables, scanners, radios, or other work tools and equipment before/after use.
  15. Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely. Carts and baskets should be cleaned and disinfected between each customer use.
  16. Consider providing cleaning “kits” including disinfectant wipes or sprays, disposable gloves, paper towels, cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies are readily accessible throughout store, including point of sale terminals and other stations that will be cleaned periodically throughout the day.

Purchases

  1. Promote “Contactless” Shopping Options
    1. Online shopping
    2. Contactless payment options (e.g., RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.)
    3. Self-checkout
    4. Pickup and delivery services
  2. Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling cash.
  3. Reusable bags are allowed at the discretion of store managers.
  4. Consider increasing pickup hours to serve more online customers.
  5. Maintain physical distancing including at point-of-sale terminals and other workstations

Returns and Exchanges

  1. Consider suspending or modifying return and exchange policies.
  2. Establish procedures for processing, handling, disinfecting, and storing returns in isolation for a safe time period before returning them to sales floor. When processing returns, employees should wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after handling items.

Other Operational Considerations

  1. Widen high-traffic areas to the extent store/space configuration allows.
  2. Note that areas of cleaning focus for retail businesses include:
    1. Shopping carts and baskets.
    2. Door and drawer handles.
    3. Light and other power switches (consider signage to keep lights on at all times, or utilizing exiting motion sensor capabilities).
    4. Shared tools such as pricing guns, pallet jacks, tape guns, box cutters, etc.
    5. Chairs, tables, and benches.
    6. Refrigerators, microwave, and other frequently touched objects and surfaces in employee breakroom.
    7. Time clocks
    8. Point of sale/checkout:
    9. Cash register, including touch screens, keyboards, mouse.
    10. PIN Pads (touch screen, keypad, and pen).
    11. Checkout counter and/or conveyor belt.
    12. Checkout dividers.
    13. Vending machines
    14. Restrooms
      • Toilet bowl, toilet paper holder, and flush lever. 
      • Sinks and faucets.
      • Paper towel holders and/or air dryers.
      • Diaper-changing stations.
  3. Provide hand sanitizer in the store for customers and employee use, including store entrance(s) and checkouts.
  4. Remove any flyers, sales brochures, and pricing lists that multiple customers might handle unless intended for single-use only. Consider placing these types of items directly into a customer’s bag at check-in or check-out rather than having patrons handle these items.
  5. Consider one-way aisles where practical. If employed, create visible signage that shows the flow of traffic  through the area.
  6. Suspend “self-service” food stations and the sampling of food or personal care products.
  7. Remove self-serve “tester” products such as hand lotion, perfumes, and food samples taken from a common container. Instead, a vendor may designate an individual to offer single serve, grab and go samples or other options that limit contact and the use of shared objects (e.g., the designated individual dispensing a sample of lotion directly into a customer’s hand rather than use of a shared pump).
  8. Recommend allowing only service animals in business at this time.
  9. Eliminate 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.
  10. Food service operations should follow state guidance on safe operation of food and drink service. Use of prepackaged food and beverages only is encouraged.

Special Considerations for Seasonal Activities

(In addition to guidance above)

  • Pick-your-own (PYO) farms, orchards, and tree farms
    • Require staff and customers to wear face coverings in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order.
    • Whenever possible, operations (i.e., check-in, check-out, sales) should be held outdoors. If using outdoor covered areas, ensure there is adequate ventilation.
    • For outdoor activities, PYO establishments may have up to four separated zones of up to 50 people, following these guidelines:
      • Maintain at least 14 feet of separation between sections, with physical barriers to prevent intermingling between sections.
      • Maintain enough space for 6 feet of separation between household groups within each section.
      • Household groups are considered up to 10 people.
      • Control access to restrooms, concessions, or other offered services, to prevent crowding.
      • Establish pre-designated (and clearly marked) entry and exit points, to ensure that overcrowding does not occur.
      • This approach may require staff to monitor entry/exit points to ensure that the number of individuals in shared space does not exceed 50.
      • The occupancy limit of a shared space includes staff and customers.
    • If customer demand significantly exceeds available space, PYO farms should pre-schedule customer visits to limit the number of people on site.
    • Encourage customers to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group at all times, including during check-in, check-out, and while picking.
    • Upon entrance and exit to the designated picking/tree area, encourage visitors to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
    • Use signage and/or directional arrows to establish one-way traffic patterns, and entrance and exit points for PYO areas.
    • Shared equipment such as baskets, picking poles, wheelbarrows, and saws should be cleaned and disinfected between uses. Consider providing customers with single use bags or boxes for harvesting, if appropriate.
    • Implementing an “If you touch it, please pick it” policy is recommended.
    • Consider encouraging customers to walk and/or drive their own vehicles to and from picking/tree areas rather than taking a hayride or other shared mode transportation.
  • Hayrides and sleigh rides
    • Require staff and customers to wear face coverings in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order.
    • Require all operators and riders to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group/traveling party whenever possible.
    • To allow for 6 feet of physical distancing between household groups, identify and plan to enforce maximum seated capacity limits per sleigh/wagon.
    • To support physical distancing between household groups, consider using advanced reservations only and/or limiting rides to one household group at a time.
    • Encourage passengers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after rides. Consider making hand sanitizer available for riders to use.
    • Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as handrails.
  • Corn mazes
    • Require all staff and customers to wear face coverings in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order.
    • To manage visitor capacity, consider offering admission by advanced reservation only, instituting time limits for visits, staggering maze entry times, and/or limiting use of the maze to one household group at a time.
    • Patrons should be encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering the maze and after exiting the maze.
    • Consider eliminating interactive components in the maze. You may consider installing hand sanitizing stations near these spaces for safer usage.
  • Haunted houses
    • All staff and customers should wear masks/face coverings in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order.
    • Avoid physical contact between staff and customers. Performers should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and other performers and guests.
    • Utilize remote ticketing options to manage capacity limitations if possible. Ticket options with timed entry are encouraged.
    • To manage visitor capacity, consider offering admission by advanced registration only and/or time limits for visits.
    • Consider enforcing proper physical distancing between household groups by limiting the occupancy of each area of the haunted house to one group at a time.
    • Modify or eliminate areas that are subject to guest contact, such as claustrophobia walls or curtains.
    • Hairstylists and makeup artists should follow the guidance included in the Close-Contact Personal Services checklist. Any application of makeup or other preparation that requires removing a face covering should be completed only by the performer at this time.
    • Review procedures and policies for cleaning and disinfection of costumes, wigs, and props to ensure alignment with CDC guidelines (see: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect)
    • Consider providing outdoor, drive-in, or drive-through haunted experiences.
  • Craft Fairs and Country Fairs
    • All staff, vendors, and customers should wear masks/face coverings in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order.
    • Whenever possible, hold fair activities in outdoor spaces.
    • Ensure booths are spaced at least 6 feet apart, with adequate spacing for people to safely walk and remain physically distant from others between booths/stands.
    • Plan site layout to avoid bottlenecks.
    • If activities are indoors, follow the occupancy limits described in the “Operations” section of this guidance. For outdoor events, establishments may have up to four separated zones of up to 50 people, following these guidelines:
      • Maintain at least 14 feet of separation between sections, with physical barriers to prevent intermingling between sections.
      • Maintain enough space for 6 feet of separation between household groups within each section.
      • Household groups are considered up to 10 people.
      • Control access to restrooms, concessions, or other offered services, to prevent crowding.
      • Establish pre-designated (and clearly marked) entry and exit points, to ensure that overcrowding does not occur.
      • This approach may require staff to monitor entry/exit points to ensure that the number of individuals in shared space does not exceed 50.
      • The occupancy limit of a shared space includes patrons and staff/vendors working the booths/stands.
    • Utilize remote ticketing options to manage capacity limitations if possible. Ticket options with timed entry are encouraged.
    • To manage visitor capacity, consider offering admission by advanced registration only and/or time limits for visits.
    • Patrons should be encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering each shared space.
    • Consider eliminating interactive components in the fair. Consider installing hand sanitizing stations near these spaces for safer usage.
    • Limit touching of items that are for sale. Post signage directing customers to only touch products they intend to purchase.
    • Follow CDC guidelines for animal activities if those at fairs, shows, and other events.

Halloween activities

This fall, Maine communities are focused on the safety of children and families and reducing COVID-19 transmission risk. Maine communities have worked hard to prioritize the safe reopening of schools. The following guidance for Halloween activities is intended to help support these efforts. It is also important to add a note of caution that the Maine COVID-19 situation may change at any point. Families are encouraged to monitor updated information at the time of planned activities.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Halloween it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Correctly wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around others that are not part of your household. A costume mask should not be considered appropriate for this purpose unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
  • Avoid confined spaces. Actively stay away from indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least 6 feet between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact. Stay at least 6 feet away (3 or more adult steps) from all other people who are not part of your own household, especially while talking, eating, drinking, and singing.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Clean frequently touched items regularly.
  • If you are sick, or you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home, not participate in in-person Halloween festivities, and not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
  • Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween:

Lower risk activities

These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate risk activities

  • Participating in one-way or otherwise distanced trick-or-treating where individually wrapped food or goodie bags are lined up or otherwise accessible for families to grab and go while continuing to maintain physical distance (such as at the end of a driveway, yard, or on a doorstep)
    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second=s before and after preparing the bags.
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective face coverings are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth face covering. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
    • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth face covering because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth face covering.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing cloth face coverings is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain physical distancing
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Participating in trick-or-treating where large groups of people go door to door to receive treats that are handed out in person
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in parking lots, drawing large crowds
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
  • Going to a haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Be sure to check about community spread of COVID-19 if you intend to go to a festival or other activities outside of your community.

Other activities

  • Bobbing for apples and the donut on a string game present unique COVID-19 mitigation challenges and are not recommended between individuals of different household groups at this time. If individuals from different household groups are bobbing for apples, between each use change the water and apples, and clean and disinfect the container.

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 business.answers@maine.gov or 1-800-872-3838.