Key Documents for Reopening

Linked below are three important documents:

  1. Workplace Safety Standards - Complete and official sector-specific standards for reopening libraries (all workplaces must also comply with the Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces)
  2. Protocol Summary - User friendly summary of the standards and best practices
  3. Checklist - Printable tool to help businesses perform the required self-certification for opening and ensure compliance with the sector-specific standards 

Social Distancing

Each library must monitor patron entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

40% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder

Buildings for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow 8 persons (including staff) per 1,000 square feet of accessible space

In any case, no enclosed space within the building may exceed occupancy of 8 persons per 1,000 square feet

All occupancy counts and calculations shall include patrons, staff, and other workers

Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible:

Close or reconfigure common spaces and high density areas where workers and patrons are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms and eating areas for workers; lobbies and workstations for patrons) to allow social distancing

Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)

Install physical barriers for checkout stations where possible, otherwise maintain 6 feet distance where not possible

Install visual social distancing markers to encourage patrons to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines outside of the libraries if applicable, checkout lines, lines to use the restroom)

Mark rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation

Stagger lunch and break times, regulating max number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing

Require face coverings for all workers and patrons, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability

Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to rooms, one-way pathways). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies

Arrange all public computers and technology so work stations are spaced out at least 6 feet apart

If spacing or physical partitioning is not possible, equipment should be blocked off (e.g., every other or every third computer) to maintain 6 feet distancing

Recommended Best Practices

Contactless payment methods are encouraged

Offer self-checkout where possible

Hygiene Protocols

Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative

Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)

Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers of hygiene and safety protocols

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances and throughout floor areas for both workers and patrons

Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between workers

All public computers and other shared technology and equipment accessible to multiple users must be wiped down and disinfected between uses. Provide disinfectant wipes at each work station for patrons to wipe down equipment after use

Books and other materials should be placed in marked containers after patron handling or return and subject to 24-hour quarantine before being returned to shelves by library workers

Staffing and Operations

Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:

Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings

Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks

Importance of not coming to work if ill

When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe

Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus

Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:

Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic

Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official

Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home

Adjust workplace hours and shifts (leverage working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion at entry points

Maintain a log of workers and patrons to support contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information) if needed

Workers must stay home if feeling ill

Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19, to disclose to library managers for purposes of cleaning, disinfecting, and contact tracing. If library management is notified of a positive case at the workplace, management shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH

Post notice to workers and patrons of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace

Libraries should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning

Limit movement of workers to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible

Allow water fountains to be used as refill stations only, provided that social distancing can be maintained. Patrons and workers should bring their own water bottles

Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include:

Restaurants and cafes: Must follow the latest restaurant guidance

Book shops: Must follow the latest retail guidance

Recommended Best Practices

Libraries are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for those in high-risk populations as defined by the CDC

Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home

Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer

Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19, to disclose to the employer of the office for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing

Limit employee movement to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible

Consider waiving fines and extending due dates to discourage patrons from coming into the library in-person

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines

Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily and more frequently if feasible)

Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning

Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, baskets, carts, worker break rooms)

In event of a positive case, shut down site for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with current CDC guidance

Once returned or handled by patrons, remove books from service for 24 hours (before it can be returned by workers and checked out by another patron)

Recommended Best Practices

Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible

Checklist

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Ensure >6ft  between individuals

Each library must monitor patron entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

40% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder

Buildings for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow 8 persons (including staff) per 1,000 square feet of accessible space

In any case, no enclosed space within the building may exceed occupancy of 8 persons per 1,000 square feet

All occupancy counts and calculations shall include patrons, staff, and other workers

Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible:

Close or reconfigure common spaces and high density areas where workers and patrons are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms and eating areas for workers; lobbies and workstations for patrons) to allow social distancing

Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)

Install physical barriers for checkout stations where possible; otherwise maintain 6 feet distance by closing adjacent checkout stations as needed to establish 6 feet of separation

Install visual social distancing markers to encourage patrons to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines outside of the libraries if applicable, checkout lines, lines to use the restroom)

Mark rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation

Stagger lunch and break times, regulating max number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing

Require face coverings for all workers and patrons, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability

Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to rooms, one-way pathways). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies

Arrange all public computers and technology so work stations are spaced out at least 6 feet apart

If spacing or physical partitioning is not possible, equipment should be blocked off (e.g., every other or every third computer) to maintain 6 feet distancing

Contactless payment methods are encouraged

Offer self-checkout where possible

HYGIENE PROTOCOLS

Apply robust hygiene protocols

Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative

Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)

Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers of hygiene and safety protocols

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances and throughout floor areas for both workers and patrons

Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between workers

All public computers and other shared technology and equipment accessible to multiple users must be wiped down and disinfected between uses. Provide disinfectant wipes at each work station for patrons to wipe down equipment after use

Books and other materials should be placed in marked containers after patron handling or return and subject to 24-hour quarantine before being returned to shelves by library workers

STAFFING & OPERATIONS

Include safety procedures in the operations

Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:

Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings

Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks

Importance of not coming to work if ill

When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe

Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus

Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:

Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic

Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official

Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home

Adjust workplace hours and shifts (leverage working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion at entry points

Maintain a log of workers and patrons to support contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information) if needed

Libraries are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for those in high-risk populations as defined by the CDC

Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home

Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer

Workers must stay home if feeling ill

Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19, to disclose to library managers for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing. If library management is notified of a positive case at the workplace, management shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH

Post notice to workers and patrons of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace

Libraries should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning

Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas

Limit movement of workers to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible

Consider waiving fines and extending due dates to discourage patrons from coming into the library in-person

Allow water fountains to be used as refill stations only, provided that social distancing can be maintained. Patrons and workers should bring their own water bottles

Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include:

Restaurants and cafes: Must follow the latest restaurant guidance

Book shops: Must follow the latest retail guidance

CLEANING & DISINFECTING

Incorporate robust hygiene protocols

Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines

Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily and more frequently if feasible)

Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning

Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, baskets, carts, worker break rooms)

In event of a positive case, shut down site for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with current CDC guidance

Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible

Once returned or handled by patrons, remove books from service for 24 hours (before it can be returned by workers and checked out by another patron)

Phase III Downloads and Translations

Phase II Downloads and Translations

Additional resources below, including easy print versions of the sector-specific circular and checklist.

Additional Resources

Last updated: July 6, 2020
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