COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies

Masks

  1. Recommend individuals in your establishment who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 wear a mask, per U.S. CDC recommendations and any relevant Federal requirements. Patrons and staff who are not fully vaccinated should:
    1. Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection. Information about proper use of masks is available from the U.S. CDC (see: Considerations for Wearing Masks).
    2. Change your mask if it becomes wet or soiled.
    3. During unmasked activities such as communal eating and drinking additional mitigation strategies should be used, such as physical distancing and increased ventilation.
    4. Masks are recommended for individuals who are not fully vaccinated outdoors when 6 feet of physical distance is difficult to maintain.
  2. The degree to which face shields and other personal protective equipment are recommended is based on proximity and duration of contact. Please see industry specific guidance from the US CDC for additional information.

Hand Hygiene

  1. Good hand hygiene prevents spread of disease. The best hand hygiene is frequent handwashing. Remind employees to wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) especially between contact with customers and customer items.
  2. Provide access to hand washing areas for staff, vendors, and customers.
  3. Provide hand sanitizer in multiple locations around work and public spaces.

Ventilation

  1. Check 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.
  2. Use 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.
  3. Consider relocating operations to outdoor spaces or other nontraditional venues that allow for increased airflow, if possible.

Signage

  1. It is recommended that establishments place signage at entrances and throughout buildings (particularly high-traffic areas such as service counters) alerting staff and visitors to mask policies and symptoms of COVID-19. The U.S. CDC has developed printable posters on these topics (see: Print Resources).
  2. It is recommended that establishments remind individuals that they should not visit the establishment if they are ill (e.g. have a fever or cough). Signage reminding individuals of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 is recommended.
  3. Inform individuals of your COVID-19 policies and procedures in advance, if possible, via website, newsletters, social media channels, newspaper, ticket purchasing site, etc.

Contact Tracing

  1. Contact tracing is a fundamental public health activity that involves working with an individual who has been diagnosed with an infectious disease to identify and provide support to people who may have been infected through exposure to the infected person. To facilitate contact tracing by the Maine CDC, certain establishments should consider maintaining a record of information about visitors, including one customer’s name and contact information per party, the date they were in the establishment, and the staff who had direct, prolonged interaction with them.
    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.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  1. Hand hygiene is perhaps the most important aspect of cleaning and disinfection. Ensure adequate supplies (e.g., soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissue) to support healthy hygiene practices and cleaning and disinfection procedures.
  2. Focus cleaning and disinfection efforts on routine cleaning of frequently touched objects (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, countertops, tables, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.)
  3. Any items rented by patrons should be cleaned and disinfected between uses. Staff who handle customer items should clean hands after contact with items.
  4. Review US CDC cleaning and disinfecting guidance (see: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility: Everyday Steps, Steps When Someone is Sick, and Considerations for Employers).

Screening

  1. Workers should stay at home if they are sick. Supervisors should ask all workers to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms using either of the following approaches:
    1. Use an electronic or app-based self-screening form, such as the Coronavirus Self-Checker available on the US CDC’s website (see: Coronavirus Self-Checker).
    2. Self-screen using the following questions:
      1. Do you feel ill or have you been caring for someone who is ill?
      2. In the past two weeks, have you been exposed to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?

Staff

  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 U.S. CDC guidance on conditions that place individuals at increased risk of severe illness (see: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
  2. Provide employees training on:
    1. monitoring personal health
    2. proper wear, removal, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if applicable
    3. laundering of cloth masks and uniforms: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect: Laundry (CDC)
    4. cleaning protocols, including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies: Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)
  3. Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.

Shared Transportation

  1. Riding in vehicles with individuals from outside of your household presents a risk of COVID-19 transmission because of the inability to maintain physical distance and potentially poor ventilation in the vehicle.
  2. If riding in separate vehicles is not possible, limit the number of individuals in the vehicle and the distance as much as possible.
  3. All occupants of the vehicle should wear a mask for the duration of the ride. This is required by the U.S. CDC for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in public transportation.
  4. Everyone in the vehicle should wash or sanitize their hands before entering and as soon as possible after exiting the vehicle.
  5. Maximize ventilation in the vehicle cabin to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
    1. Fully opening all vehicle windows is the most efficient way to increase ventilation in the vehicle cabin.
    2. If fully opening all vehicle windows is not possible, open all windows halfway or fully open two of the windows in the vehicle.
    3. In the event of extreme weather, when opening windows is not possible, use the vehicle’s vents to bring in fresh outside air—avoid using the recirculated air option for the vehicle’s ventilation during transport.
  6. If vehicles are used by multiple individuals who are not part of the same household, clean and disinfect the steering wheel, seatbelts, consoles, and other frequent touchpoints as part of an end-of-shift or pre-trip routine.

In Case of Illness

  1. Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Know what to do if staff become symptomatic at the workplace.
  2. Encourage employees to stay home and notify workplace administrators when sick (workplaces should provide non-punitive sick leave options to allow staff to stay home when ill).
  3. Review, update, or develop workplace plans to include leave policies for people with COVID-19 symptoms.
  4. When an employee feels ill:
    1. Instruct employees to not come to work with symptoms of COVID-like illness.
    2. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
      • People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
        • Cough
        • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Or at least two of these symptoms:
        • Fever
        • Chills
        • Repeated shaking with chills
        • Muscle pain
        • Headache
        • Sore throat
        • New loss of taste or smell
  5. When an employee or member of the public becomes ill in your establishment:
    1. Have a plan for a room or space where the individual can be isolated until transferred to home or health care facility and provided a mask, if available and tolerated.
    2. Encourage the individual to call their health care provider and get tested for COVID-19, if appropriate.
    3. Is the individual needs urgent medical attention (e.g., if individual is having difficulty breathing), call 911.
  6. Employers may need to work with public health officials to determine which employees may have had close contact with the employee with COVID-19 and who may need to take additional precautions, including exclusion from work and remaining at home. If an employee makes an employer aware that they tested positive for COVID-19, the employer may call the Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.
  7. For return to work guidance, refer to the current CDC guidance for returning to work (see: Returning to Work).
  8. Call 2-1-1 if you have further questions about COVID-19.