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Last content update:  5/22/2020

 

If You Think You are Sick

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I Think I Have or Am at Risk of Having COVID-19: What do I do?

Please read this section if:

  • You suspect you might have or were exposed to COVID-19 but have not been tested
  • You have been tested for COVID-19 but have not yet received your test results
  1. Monitor your symptoms
    • Reach out to your primary care provider to determine if you meet their testing criteria.
    • If you are over 50 or have a condition that puts you at higher risk for severe disease, monitor your illness even more closely and discuss any concerns with your doctor.
    • The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms can include chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell.
    • If your symptoms get worse, you have difficulty breathing, or you develop other concerning symptoms, call your doctor.
    • If you can't reach your doctor, first try to leave a message with your doctor's emergency/after-hours answering service. If this option is not available, you may contact the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Valley Connections Line at 1-888-334-1000 and ask to speak to an advice nurse. Do not go to the emergency room or urgent care without an appointment.
    • If you cannot get tested through a provider, you may still be able to find additional testing sites by visiting Where to Get Tested​.
    • If it is an emergency, call 911. If you have been tested, tell them you are awaiting results.
      • Some emergency warning signs are trouble breathing, persistent pain/pressure in the chest, confusion or being unable to wake up, and bluish face or lips.
  1. Call ahead before visiting a hospital, emergency room, or doctor’s office
    • If you need to visit a hospital, emergency room, or doctor’s office, call ahead to notify them that you might have COVID-19. This will help the hospital or doctor’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected.
  1. Stay at home except to get medical care
    • Stay at home. Other people should get food and other necessities for you.
      • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
      • If you need medical care, avoid using public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  1. Protect your family and friends
    • While at home, stay in a separate room with the door closed and away from other people in your household. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
      • If a separate bathroom is not available, use the bathroom last after others, and then wipe down everything you touched afterwards.
    • Wear a face covering if you must be around other people at home. A bandana, scarf, or homemade cloth mask may be used. If you are not able to wear a covering, then people should not be in the same room with you. The time spent with other members of your household should be very limited.
    • Clean your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away used tissue in a lined trash can. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward.
    • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, glasses, or bedding.
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.
  1. Self-isolate at home
    • If you have not been tested:
      • Remain isolated at home until at least 3 days after fever is gone and other symptoms are better.
    • If you have been tested and are waiting for your results:
      • Remain isolated at home until your provider contacts you with the results.
    • If your self-quarantine period is over, you can return to your usual routine while following the Shelter in Place and social distancing orders. Wear reusable, non-medical cloth face coverings when going out for essential services.

NOTE: If you work in a healthcare setting, you should notify your employee/occupational health office as soon as you begin showing symptoms.

You should follow any additional instructions from your employer.

 

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I Have Tested Positive for COVID-19: What do I do?

Please read this section if:

  • You have been tested and already know the result
  1. Continue to monitor your symptoms
    • If you are over 50 or have a condition that puts you at higher risk for severe disease, monitor your illness even more closely and discuss any concerns with your doctor.
    • The most common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms can include chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell.
    • If your symptoms get worse, you have difficulty breathing, or you develop other concerning symptoms, call your doctor.
    • If you can't reach your doctor, first try to leave a message with your doctor's emergency/after-hours answering service. If this option is not available, you may contact the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Valley Connections Line at 1-888-334-1000 and ask to speak to an advice nurse. Do not go to the emergency room or urgent care without an appointment. 
    • If it is an emergency, call 911. If you have been tested, tell them you are awaiting results.
      • Some emergency warning signs are trouble breathing, persistent pain/pressure in the chest, confusion or being unable to wake up, and bluish face or lips.
  1. Self-isolate for 14 days and until your illness is better
    • Remain isolated at home until at least 14 days have passed since the date of their positive COVID-19 test result AND, if ever symptomatic, at least 7 days have passed since recovery (resolution of fever and substantial improvement in respiratory symptoms). ​
    • While at home, stay in a separate room with the door closed and away from other people in your household. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
      • If a separate bathroom is not available, use the bathroom last after others, and then wipe down everything you touched afterwards.
    • Wear a face covering if you must be around other people at home. A bandana, scarf, or homemade cloth mask may be used. If you are not able to wear a covering, then people should not be in the same room with you. The time spent with other members of your household should be very limited.
    • Clean your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away used tissue in a lined trash can. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward.
    • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, glasses, or bedding.
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.
  1. People who live with you should self-quarantine for 14 days
    • Household members should self-quarantine for 14 days after their last close contact with you while you were sick, before you started your isolation in a separate room.
    • During the quarantine period, they can stay at home but should separate as much as possible from you. If possible, they should stay in separate rooms and use a separate bathroom.
    • As always, everyone in the home should follow the instructions of the County of Santa Clara shelter-in-place order.
    • If they need to go out of the house, they should practice strict social distancing and avoid contact with others.
  1. During the quarantine period, your household contacts should monitor themselves for symptoms
    • If they develop fever, cough, or other symptoms, they should call their doctor.
    • Before visiting a hospital, emergency room, or doctor’s office, they should call ahead to notify the provider that another household member was recently diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • If your household contact develops fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms but does not get tested for COVID-19, they should remain isolated at home until at least 3 days after fever is gone and other symptoms are better.

 

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I Have Tested Negative for COVID-19: What do I do?

  • You likely do not have COVID-19. Your provider may want to further discuss the meaning of this result with you.
  • You should remain isolated at home until 3 days after fever is gone and other symptoms are better.

For more information on COVID-19:

 

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People Who Need Extra Precautions

We now know that some people are at higher risk for serious COVID-19 illness than others. Specifically, older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more likely to develop more serious symptoms and to require more intensive medical care.

Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:

  • People aged 50 years and 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:
    • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Compromised immunities
      • Many conditions can cause a person to have compromised immunities, 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
    • Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
    • Diabetes
    • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • Liver disease
  • People who are pregnant.

The County Public Health Department strongly urges that persons at higher risk of severe illness to stay home.

In addition, follow this general guidance:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, cough into a tissue or your elbow, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Stay away from people who are ill.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects (like phones, tablets, doorknobs and light switches). Regular household cleaners are effective.
  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Even if you are not ill, do not visit hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes, or other settings with vulnerable populations. If you do need to visit one of these facilities, limit your time there and keep 6 feet away from all patients and employees of the facility at all times.
  • Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms such as cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first for instructions.
  • If you are sick, stay home and away from others in your household to the degree you are able.

We also recognize that the spread of COVID-19 could be particularly dangerous for those experiencing homelessness. Individuals without stable housing not only face greater difficulty taking preventative actions, but they are often in poorer health than other residents. The County of Santa Clara is working hard with its partners to address the needs of homeless individuals, and you can read more about our response on this page.

 

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People Living and Working in Multi-Unit Housing Communities

What Should Property Managers Do?​

Encourage Residents and Staff to Practice Social Distancing.

  • Support staff in practicing social distancing and following the Shelter-in-Place order. Allow telecommuting and encourage the use of flexible leave time wherever possible.
  • Cancel all meetings, gatherings, and other uses of common areas, including community rooms, fitness rooms, pools, pet relief areas/dog parks, computer labs, and communal storage rooms. Laundry rooms may remain open for laundry purposes only and must be sanitized frequently. Signs should be posted in the laundry room to remind residents to practice social distancing while inside.
  • Require your staff to wear face coverings at all times when inside your facility.
  • Require or strongly encourage your residents to wear face coverings when they are in common areas such as laundry rooms, parking lots, walkways, or hallways. Note: If you choose to require masks, do not require them for children under six or for people who have trouble breathing or are unable to remove a face covering without assistance. See here for the County’s guidance.
  • Post information in staff areas, common spaces, and points of entry about actions being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Share information about COVID-19 with residents in multiple languages. Find available signs and resources on the CDC website and also here on the County’s Public Health Department’s website.

Manage Visitors

  • Limit visitor access to only essential visitors. Essential visitors include home care workers, food and package deliverers, and others who provide essential services, such as health care and emergency maintenance.
  • Encourage residents to connect with family and friends by phone and/or online, and to postpone all non-essential visits.
  • If possible, limit visitor access to a single point of entry in your building that staff can easily monitor.
  • Post signs at entrances instructing essential visitors to refrain from entering if they are sick or if they have had close contact with a person who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.​
  • Post signs instructing visitors to limit their movement in the building and not to use common areas.
  • Require visitors to wear face coverings at all times when they are inside your facility.

Monitor Staff Health

  • Screen staff in person or by phone for symptoms of the virus at the start of every day. Anyone with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle or body aches, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19 should not come to work.
  • Call 2-1-1 for phone and text services on COVID-19/novel coronavirus, available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, in 150 languages.

If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the building, do not share protected health information. The identity of a suspected or confirmed case is protected health information and may not be disclosed by staff. It is not necessary to alert residents about possible cases. For information about what to do in a situation where an employee tests positive for COVID-19, please refer to the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department Guidance for Businesses and Workplaces.

If the identity of a case is known, visitors and staff should not enter the unit where the person with COVID-19 resides.

What Should Maintenance Staff Do?

Frequently Clean and Disinfect

  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces in common areas several times each day. This includes doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, railings, laundry machines, and other surfaces that many people touch.
  • Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage for more information on cleaning methods and products.
  • Make sure garbage cans are readily available for used tissues and paper towels.

Work Safely in Residential Units

  • Limit maintenance work in units as much as feasible. Staff who need to enter a resident's unit should follow basic hygiene principles including:
    • Wash hands or use sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content) before entering. Wear clean gloves if possible.
    • Keep at least 6 feet of distance from residents.
    • Disinfect all work surfaces before leaving the unit.
    • Wear a face covering.

What Should Residents Do?

Practice Social Distancing

  • Stay at home in your residential unit and avoid all non-essential contact with others. In particular, avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home and away from others when you are sick.
  • Limit trips for groceries, gas, retail items, recreation, and other essentials.
  • If it's essential to leave your residential unit, stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible and wear a face covering. This includes when you are outside your unit but still inside your building or complex (in hallways, walkways, the laundry room, the parking lot, etc.).
  • Support and respect decisions about limited use or temporary closure of common areas in your building.
  • Consider creative ways to connect with others from a distance. Use phone calls, conference calls, and online video conferencing for work, meetings, and to stay in touch with friends and family.

Practice Good Respiratory Hygiene

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If handwashing facilities are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, then throw out the used tissue.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like drinking glasses, eating utensils, and towels with other people.

Frequently Clean High-Touch Surfaces in Your Household

  • Frequently disinfect and clean high touch surfaces including phones, keyboards, kitchen countertops, toilets, faucets and doorknobs. 

Make a Plan

  • Plan how you will meet your essential needs if you become sick.
  • Plan how you might help others in your building if they become sick. For example, you might offer to leave food and other items outside a neighbor's door or check on them with a daily phone call.
  • Keep a supply of non-perishable food, household items, cleaning supplies, and medications on hand so that you can minimize your trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, and other locations.

 

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Guidance on Recreational Activities and Facilities Order Effective May 4, 2020

It’s important to exercise, play, and enjoy the outdoors during shelter in place—and to protect against the spread of COVID-19 while you do. The County’s May 4 Shelter in Place Order keeps most rules for recreational activities in place and lets some additional low-risk outdoor activities resume. Here’s what you need to know.

General requirements for recreational activities:

  • No sports or recreational activities except solo or with members of your household.
  • No use of recreational areas or facilities outside your home that have high-touch equipment or encourage gathering (like playgrounds, picnic and barbecue areas, dog parks, climbing areas, pools, and other facilities listed below). These cannot be open.
  • No use of indoor recreational facilities, like fitness gyms, except in your own home. If a recreational center is primarily made up of outdoor areas where recreational activities are allowed (like an athletic field), the public can only use this outdoor portion, and all business and transactions involving the public must take place outdoors.
  • No sporting events, team sports, or sports practices/classes, and no spectating.
  • Strictly comply with Social Distancing Requirements in the May 4 Order (including keeping 6 feet social distance from people not in your household) and any Social Distancing Protocols posted onsite.
  • Abide by any restrictions for the area you visit to reduce crowding and prevent spread of COVID-19. If crowding becomes a problem, people may be told to spread out or leave.
  • Follow the Critical Guidance for Face Coverings. You do not need to wear a face covering when exercising, but have one with you and ready to use.
  • Confirm the activity is allowed under the State’s Stay Home Order. Even if the County allows it, the State might not.

Use of parks and open spaces:

  • You can visit parks and open space areas, so long as you follow any restrictions put in place to reduce crowding and prevent spread of COVID-19.
  • Some areas may be closed or restricted to the public. Check the website or call before you visit.

No rentals:

  • No rentals of sports or recreational equipment (other than bicycles or scooters for essential travel and golf carts to people with disabilities who require them to access the course). When you go out to play sports, take your own balls, bats/racquets, and other equipment. Do not share them with anyone outside your household.

If you follow all these rules, you can do a variety of outdoor exercise and recreation activities alone or with members of your own household, including but not limited to:

  • Archery ranges and gun ranges
  • Baseball, softball, cricket, and batting cages
  • Basketball
  • Bicycling
  • Boating, canoeing, and kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Frisbee and frisbee golf/disc golf
  • Football
  • Golf (in accordance with the State’s Stay Home Order, only singles play is allowed) and driving ranges
  • Hiking and trail running
  • Horseback-riding
  • Hunting
  • Kite-flying
  • Paddle-boarding, kitesurfing, and windsurfing
  • Roller-skating and roller-blading
  • Skateboarding, including at a skate park
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and surfing in the ocean and lakes (if allowed in the area you visit)
  • Tennis and other outdoor racquet sports
  • Track and field activities
  • Volleyball
  • Walking, jogging, and running
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, and similar activities

These recreational facilities remain closed under the order, and cannot be used:

  • Bowling alleys
  • Climbing walls and gyms, and outdoor bouldering/climbing areas
  • Dog parks
  • Gyms and fitness/recreation centers
  • Ice hockey, ice-skating, and rollerskating rinks
  • Indoor tracks
  • Martial arts studios
  • Mini-golf courses
  • Picnic and barbecue areas
  • Playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment
  • Spas, saunas, and steam rooms
  • Studios for yoga, Pilates, gymnastics, or dance
  • Swimming pools and water sports facilities

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How To

Face Coverings:  An Overview

You are required to wear a face covering whenever you are at a business (even if it’s an outdoor business) as an employee or a customer, and whenever you are on public transit. Businesses must post signs reminding you to wear a face covering when you are at their facilities. At all other times when you are out in public, you are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering. The only exceptions are for people for whom a face covering may not be safe (for example, children 6 and under, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance).

You can remove your mask to address basic biological necessities like eating and drinking, or if you are suddenly short of breath and feel a need for more air. You should replace your mask as soon as possible if you have to remove it. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer both before and after handling your face covering.

You do not need to wear a face covering while you are exercising outdoors, but you should keep one with you to put on if needed.

The Role of Face Coverings

Wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community and reduce the number of people infected.

We know that people may be infected with the novel coronavirus but have no symptoms. Wearing a face covering can help to reduce the chance that those who may not know they are sick will spread the infection to others. If everyone wears face coverings in public, we can reduce the spread of infection.

Critical Guidance on Facial Coverings

Covering your face is about helping others. By covering your face when you go out for essential reasons, you are protecting vulnerable community members.

Face Coverings and the Order to Shelter in Place

Covering your face is not a substitute for sheltering in place. Sheltering in place has slowed the spread of the virus in our community, saving lives. Strictly following the order to shelter in place remains critical and is enforceable. Covering your face helps you to protect others if you might have an asymptomatic infection. It is required by the shelter in place order whenever you are at a business as an employee or customer, and strongly recommended at other times when you are outside your home.

Face Coverings and Social Distancing

Please remember that cloth face coverings must be combined with maintaining social distancing, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding all contact with people outside your household when you are sick. Wearing a face covering does not mean that people can come in closer contact with each other; while face coverings can help reduce the spread of the virus, they do not completely stop it.

When You are Required to Wear a Face Covering

You must wear a cloth face covering when:

  • You are a customer at any business allowed to be open (including an outdoor business), or riding on public transit, unless you are under 6 years old or a person who has trouble breathing or can't remove a face covering without help; and
  • You are working at any business allowed to be open, including an outdoor business, and including businesses performing only minimum basic operations, unless the face covering would create a safety hazard for workers under health and safety guidelines.

At other times when you're outside your own home, including in common areas of your apartment or condo complex, you are strongly urged to wear a face covering.

When a Face Covering is Not Needed

Face coverings are not required to be worn when you are:

  • At home.
  • In your car alone or solely with members of your household.
  • Exercising outdoors, like walking, hiking, bicycling, or running. However, people are recommended to have a face covering with them and readily accessible when exercising, even if they're not wearing it at that moment.

Who Should Not Wear a Face Covering

Face coverings are not necessarily recommended for:

  • Children 6 years old or younger.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering.
  • Any worker to the extent wearing a face covering creates a safety hazard at work under established health and safety guidelines.

Face Covering Information for Businesses and Transportation

  • All businesses that are allowed to operate in any capacity under the Order, including for minimum basic operations, are required to ensure that their employees wear a face covering when they are at work, even if there are no customers or members of the public present at the time. This is to avoid the spreading of respiratory droplets in areas where others may be exposed at some point.
  • Businesses must inform customers about the requirement to wear a face covering in their facilities, including posting the County's required Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information and COVID-19 Prepared signs (both available to print here after a business completes its Social Distancing Protocol) at the entrance to the store or facility.
  • All workers operating public transportation or other types of shared transportation are required to wear a face covering when at work in most settings.

Workers at businesses should wear face coverings even when speaking or presenting to others—in fact, speaking is of the key times when people spread respiratory droplets. People speaking or presenting can remove their face covering if they are alone in a room speaking to others via telephone or videoconference, or if needed for disability accommodation to allow others to understand the presentation. Otherwise, face coverings should stay on even though it may feel inconvenient to speak through one.

Making Your Own Face Covering

There are several options for face coverings, as long as they cover the nose and mouth. Face coverings can be made of a variety of cloth materials, such as bandanas, scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

A face covering can be made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, but it should not have holes around the nose or mouth.

The CDC has provided simple instructions on how to make your own face covering.

Cleaning Your Face Covering

Face coverings should be washed frequently. Ideally, wash them after each use and have a dedicated laundry bag or bin. Always wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, before and after touching your face or face coverings.

The CDC also has easy instruction on how to wear and clean your face covering.

Save Masks for Health Care Workers 

N-95 and surgical masks are in short supply and need to be conserved for health workers on the frontlines. We are managing our supply levels closely and ensuring that health workers and first responders have medical-grade personal protective equipment that is aligned with the latest evidence-based science, and appropriate for their work duties.

If you are currently using a medical mask, keep using it as long as possible – until it becomes dirty or damaged due to the limited supply.

 

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Healthcare Providers

Providers have a responsibility to report confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases to the Public Health Department. Please refer to the Healthcare Provider’s page for more detailed information and resources.

 

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Businesses and Workplaces

Santa Clara County is under a shelter in place order​ that is in place through 11:59pm, May 31, 2020. It may be extended as necessary to protect the public. The order requires that most people stay home unless they are engaged in certain “Essential Activities.” We understand the new guidance can have tremendous impact on the lives of people in our community. However, this is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County when such measures can potentially slow the spread of the disease. Essential Businesses in Santa Clara County are responsible for taking steps to protect the health of their employees and customers by minimizing close contact between people. Below are resources to support businesses and employees in carrying out practices to minimize risk to employees and the public.

If you are a business owner and one of your employees has tested positive for COVID-19, you may have questions about what you should do next. If the sick employee never came to work during their contagious period, no action is required. As we currently understand it, the contagious period starts two days before symptoms begin. It lasts until 14 days after the person's positive test result came back OR seven days after their fever is gone and other symptoms are improving, whichever is longer.

If the sick employee DID come to work during their contagious period, the County suggests you consider the following steps:​

  1. Cease operations, close your facility, and thoroughly sanitize it. Instructions for sanitizing your facility may be found at CDC Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities. Your facility can reopen as soon as it has been sanitized.
  2. Instruct the sick employee to self-isolate at home.
  3. Inform other employees that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and the day(s) on which the potential exposure occurred. If you take this step, you should also instruct your employees to closely monitor themselves for any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, coughing, and/or shortness of breath) for 14 days.

    You should consult your business’s legal and health advisors when implementing any part of this guidance.

Additional Resources:

 

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Guidance for Essential Retail and Grocery Stores

On May 4, 2020, the Santa Clara County Health Officer issued a new mandatory legal order ("Order") that extended shelter in place requirements until 11:59 pm on May 31, 2020 (though it may be modified or extended by the County Health Officer). The Order makes social distancing a requirement and places new restrictions on essential businesses.

Certain retail stores are considered "essential businesses," such as bicycle supply shops, hardware stores, mailing/shipping stores, and stores that sell a significant amount of food/hygiene products/certain household goods. See section 16(f) of the Order for a complete list of essential businesses, as well as the County Public Health Department's list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Order.

Essential retail stores are encouraged to remain open to meet the public's needs during the shelter in place period. While they operate, they must comply with the requirements of the Order to help protect their employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19. The legal requirements are below, along with some additional recommendations from the Public Health Department.

Note: If your business is a food facility (one that stores, prepares, packages, or sells food to customers in the store), you must also comply with the COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Measures for Food Facilities posted on the County Department of Environmental Health website.

A.  Requirements for All Essential Businesses

The Order requires that all essential businesses strictly comply with the following steps:

  • You must develop a social distancing protocol and post it prominently at the entrance of your facility where employees and customers can easily see it. The protocol must substantially follow this form, which is attached to the Order as Appendix A. If an enforcement authority asks for proof that your protocol complies with the Order and that your facility is following the protocol, you must provide that proof.
    • You must also give a copy of the protocol to each employee working at the facility.
  • You must limit the number of people who can enter your facility at any one time to make sure your customers and employees can practice proper social distancing (maintaining a minimum six-foot distance from one another).
  • To make sure your customers maintain social distancing while they stand in line, you must place markers at least six feet apart from each other wherever lines form in your facility. Lines of tape on the floor can be used as markers.
  • You must provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers (60% alcohol or higher), soap and water, or an effective disinfectant for use by both employees and customers. Place the appropriate supplies at or near the entrance of the facility and at other convenient locations throughout the facility, including where employees interact with customers (such as cash registers).
  • You must use contactless payment systems whenever possible. If you cannot, you must make sure that all objects that are touched during the payment process are sanitized after each use.
  • You must regularly disinfect other high-touch surfaces.
  • You must post a sign at the entrance to the facility telling all employees and customers to do the following:
    • Avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever;
    • Maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another;
    • Sneeze/cough into their elbow;
    • Avoid unnecessary physical contact, including handshakes.

B.  Additional Guidance for Essential Retail Stores

In addition to the above requirements, the County Health Officer strongly recommends that you adopt the following personal and environmental hygiene practices for your retail store:

Employee Health

  • Screen your employees at the beginning of each shift for symptoms of illness. Ask if they are experiencing any of the following: fever, tiredness, cough, muscle or body aches, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, night sweats, sore throat, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste or smell. If an employee shows any of these symptoms, send them home and instruct them to follow the instructions on the County's COVID-19 "If You Think You Are Sick" webpage.
  • Require your employees to wear face coverings at all times during their workday.
    • Face coverings should not be surgical or medical masks, which are in short supply and urgently needed by healthcare workers. Instead, face coverings such as bandanas, scarfs, or home-sewn fabric coverings should be used.
    • Note that wearing a face covering does not eliminate the need to wash hands or practice social distancing.
  • Make sure your employees wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds when they first arrive to work, after they use the restroom, before and after they eat, and frequently throughout the day. Tell them to avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • If you have employees who are at high risk* for severe illness from COVID-19, consider temporarily re-assigning them to non-public-contact duties.

Facility Sanitation

  • For every shift, appoint a designated sanitation worker to continuously clean and sanitize commonly touched surfaces and meet the Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations set by the CDC.
  • Make sure there is a way to sanitize shopping cart and basket handles, either by making wipes easily accessible to customers or by having employees manage the process and sanitize between each customer use.
  • Frequently sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects such as electronics, doorknobs, faucet handles, countertops, cash machine keypads, and shopping cart handles.  Change the sanitizing solution at least once every four hours.

Customer Protections

  • Use spacing tools to enforce social distancing (six feet minimum) where customers in your store are waiting in line. Consider opening only every other register to space out customer lines.
  • You should determine whether you will refuse to allow customers who are not wearing face coverings into the store or merely strongly encourage customers to wear face coverings.
  • Prohibit customers from self-serving foods, including from hot bars, cold bars, buffets, or bulk bins.
  • Prohibit product sampling.
  • Offer designated shopping hours for customers at high risk* for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Do not allow customers to bring reusable items from home into the store (food containers, travel cups, reusable bags, etc.).

*People who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include people 50 or older, people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems, and people who are pregnant.

 

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Guidance for Workers

People who continue to perform important jobs that keep our community safe and healthy are part of our essential workforce. This includes people who work in grocery and food stores, gas stations, restaurants, healthcare, hotels and motels, delivery services, transportation services, first responders, and other employees at businesses and healthcare operations that keep essential activities going. Many people in the county can stay home safely because of the services provided by these essential workers. Other workers will perform important work outside their homes maintaining basic functions for non-essential businesses and staffing the outdoor businesses that are now allowed to reopen under the current order (effective May 4, 2020).

For people performing work outside their homes during the shelter in place order, we offer the following tips on how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) for you and your family.

When Going to Work:

  • Riding alone in a private vehicle is the safest way to travel.
  • We know this is not possible for everyone. If you go to work with others in the same car, wear a face covering over your mouth and nose (such as a bandana, scarf, or handmade fabric covering). Keep the car windows open whenever possible. If you go to work on public transportation, wear a face covering while waiting for and riding the bus or train.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • If possible, carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use after touching surfaces such as ticket machines, handrails, and doors.
  • Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose (such as a bandana, scarf, or handmade fabric covering) while waiting for or riding on public transit.

When at Work:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get to work and as often as possible during your shift. Wash for at least 20 seconds. If handwashing facilities are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose while at work (such as a bandana, scarf, or handmade fabric covering). This is required.​

When You Get Home from Work:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer as soon as you get home.
  • Create a space near the front door or entrance to your home to place your work items to avoid contaminating other areas of the house.
  • After washing your hands, clean your phone, keys, and other loose items with disinfectant wipes.
  • Clean any doorknobs or other surfaces that you touched when you entered the home.
  • Place work clothes that need washing directly into the washer or in a separate bag, depending on what makes sense for your laundry situation.
  • Shower and put on clean clothes.
  • Do not hug or touch anyone until after you've washed your hands and showered.

At Home:

  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, then throw out the used tissue.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like drinking glasses, eating utensils, and towels with other people.
  • Frequently clean high-touch surfaces including phones, keyboards, kitchen countertops, toilets, faucets, and doorknobs. Standard cleaning products are effective against COVID-19.

Make a Plan in Case You Get Sick:

  • Plan how you will meet your essential needs if you become sick.
  • Keep a supply of non-perishable food, household items, cleaning supplies, and medications on hand so that you can minimize and space out your trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, and other locations.
  • Determine who will be responsible for activities such as grocery shopping and other essential activities if you become sick. Is there someone in the home who can help? Is there a family or close friend who can drop off groceries to the door?

Free Support Services:

  • For housing support, call the County's Joint Operations Center at 408-278-6420.
  • For food assistance, call Second Harvest Food Bank at 1-800-984-3663.
  • If you do not have a regular doctor, please call the Primary Care Access Program at 408-556-6605 to speak to a doctor about your symptoms.
  • For information on COVID-19 testing in the County—including who should get tested and where—visit the County Public Health Department website: www.sccgov.org/cv19testing.
  • Remember, getting help for COVID-19 will not reduce your chances of obtaining U.S. residency or citizenship. So please, reach out for help if you need it.
  • To see if you qualify for a program that can cover a portion of your lost wages due to COVID-19 visit: sccfairworkplace.org or call 1-866-870-7725.

 

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Guidance for Food Facilities

Read the Department of Environmental Health’s most recent letter advising on the effects of the Order on food facilities.

Follow the most recent Risk Mitigation Measures for Food Facilities from the Department of Environmental Health.

Visit the Department of Environmental Health's Informational Links for COVID-19 for the latest information and updates.

 

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Guidance for Agricultural Industry Workers

Read the Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency's most recent letter advising on the effects of the Order on the agricultural industry.

Follow the most recent safety measures for Agricultural Industry Workers and Worker Housing from the Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency.

Visit the Division of Agriculture's Informational Links for COVID-19 for the latest information and updates.

 

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Guidance for Construction Field Safety

Small Construction Project Safety Protocol

  1. Any construction project meeting any of the following specifications is subject to this Small Construction Project Safety Protocol (“SCP Protocol”), including public works projects unless otherwise specified by the Health Officer:
    1. For residential projects, any single-family, multi-family, senior, student, or other residential construction, renovation, or remodel project consisting of 10 units or less. This SCP Protocol does not apply to construction projects where a person is performing construction on their current residence either alone or solely with members of their own household.
    2. For commercial projects, any construction, renovation, or tenant improvement project consisting of 20,000 square feet of floor area or less.
    3. For mixed-use projects, any project that meets both of the specifications in subsection 1.a and 1.b.
    4. All other construction projects not subject to the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol
  1. The following restrictions and requirements must be in place at all construction job sites subject to this SCP Protocol:
    1. Comply with all applicable and current laws and regulations including but not limited to OSHA and Cal-OSHA. If there is any conflict, difference, or discrepancy between or among applicable laws and regulations and/or this SCP Protocol, the stricter standard shall apply.
    2. Designate a site-specific COVID-19 supervisor or supervisors to enforce this guidance. A designated COVID-19 supervisor must be present on the construction site at all times during construction activities. A COVID-19 supervisor may be an on-site worker who is designated to serve in this role.
    3. The COVID-19 supervisor must review this SCP Protocol with all workers and visitors to the construction site.
    4. Establish a daily screening protocol for arriving staff to ensure that potentially infected staff do not enter the construction site. If workers leave the jobsite and return the same day, establish a cleaning and decontamination protocol prior to entry and exit of the jobsite. Post the daily screening protocol at all entrances and exits to the jobsite. More information on screening can be found online at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.
    5. Practice social distancing by maintaining a minimum six-foot distance between workers at all times, except as strictly necessary to carry out a task associated with the construction project.
    6. Where construction work occurs within an occupied residential unit, separate work areas must be sealed off from the remainder of the unit with physical barriers such as plastic sheeting or closed doors sealed with tape to the extent feasible. If possible, workers must access the work area from an alternative entry/exit door to the entry/exit door used by residents. Available windows and exhaust fans must be used to ventilate the work area. If residents have access to the work area between workdays, the work area must be cleaned and sanitized at the beginning and at the end of workdays. Every effort must be taken to minimize contact between workers and residents, including maintaining a minimum of six feet of social distancing at all times.
    7. Where construction work occurs within common areas of an occupied residential or commercial building or a mixed-use building in use by on-site employees or residents, separate work areas must be sealed off from the rest of the common areas with physical barriers such as plastic sheeting or closed doors sealed with tape to the extent feasible. If possible, workers must access the work area from an alternative building entry/exit door to the building entry/exit door used by residents or other users of the building. Every effort must be taken to minimize contact between worker and building residents and users, including maintaining a minimum of six feet of social distancing at all times.
    8. Prohibit gatherings of any size on the jobsite, including gatherings for breaks or eating, except for meetings regarding compliance with this protocol or as strictly necessary to carry out a task associated with the construction project.
    9. Cal-OSHA requires employers to provide water, which should be provided in single-serve containers. Sharing of any of any food or beverage is strictly prohibited and if sharing is observed, the worker must be sent home for the day. Use of microwaves, water coolers, and other similar shared equipment is prohibited.
    10. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically for use in construction, including gloves, goggles, face shields, and face coverings as appropriate for the activity being performed. At no time may a contractor secure or use medical-grade PPE unless required due to the medical nature of a jobsite. Face coverings must be worn in compliance with the April 17, 2020 Guidance from the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, available at: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/learn-what-to-do.aspx#howto.
    11. Strictly control “choke points” and “high-risk areas” where workers are unable to maintain six-foot social distancing and prohibit or limit use to ensure that six-foot distance can easily be maintained between individuals.
    12. Minimize interactions and maintain social distancing with all site visitors, including delivery workers, design professional and other project consultants, government agency representatives, including building and fire inspectors, and residents at residential construction sites.
    13. Stagger trades as necessary to reduce density and allow for easy maintenance of minimum six-foot separation.
    14. Discourage workers from using others’ desks, work tools, and equipment. If more than one worker uses these items, the items must be cleaned and disinfected with disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19 in between use by each new worker. Prohibit sharing of PPE.
    15. If hand washing facilities are not available at the jobsite, place portable wash stations or hand sanitizers that are effective against COVID-19 at entrances to the jobsite and in multiple locations dispersed throughout the jobsite as warranted.
    16. Clean and sanitize any hand washing facilities, portable wash stations, jobsite restroom areas, or other enclosed spaces daily with disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19. Frequently clean and disinfect all high touch areas, including entry and exit areas, high traffic areas, rest rooms, hand washing areas, high touch surfaces, tools, and equipment
    17. Maintain a daily attendance log of all workers and visitors that includes contact information, including name, phone number, address, and email.
    18. Post a notice in an area visible to all workers and visitors instructing workers and visitors to do the following:
      1. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands or with gloves.
      2. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
      3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as work stations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, machines, shared tools, elevator control buttons, and doorknobs.
      4. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, or cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm at your elbow/sleeve.
      5. Do not enter the jobsite if you have a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel sick, or have been exposed to anyone who is sick, stay at home.
      6. Constantly observe your work distances in relation to other staff. Maintain the recommended minimum six feet at all times when not wearing the necessary PPE for working in close proximity to another person.
      7. Do not carpool to and from the jobsite with anyone except members of your own household unit, or as necessary for workers who have no alternative means of transportation.
      8. Do not share phones or PPE.
    19. In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at any jobsite, the following must take place:
      1. Immediately remove the infected individual from the jobsite with directions to seek medical care.
      2. Each location the infected worker was at must be decontaminated and sanitized by an outside vendor certified in hazmat clean ups, and work in these locations must cease until decontamination and sanitization is complete.
      3. The County Public Health Department must be notified immediately and any additional requirements per the County health officials must be completed, including full compliance with any tracing efforts by the County.

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Large Construction Project Safety Protocol

  1. Any construction project meeting any of the following specifications is subject to this Large Construction Project Safety Protocol (“LCP Protocol”), including public works projects unless otherwise specified by the Health Officer:
    1. For residential construction projects, any single-family, multi-family, senior, student, or other residential construction, renovation, or remodel project consisting of more than 10 units.
    2. For commercial construction projects, any construction, renovation, or tenant improvement project consisting of more than 20,000 square feet of floor area.
    3. For construction of Essential Infrastructure, as defined in section 16.c of the Order, any project that requires five or more workers at the jobsite at any one time.
  1. The following restrictions and requirements must be in place at all construction job sites subject to this LCP Protocol:
    1. Comply with all applicable and current laws and regulations including but not limited to OSHA and Cal-OSHA. If there is any conflict, difference or discrepancy between or among applicable laws and regulations and/or this LCP Protocol, the stricter standard will apply.
    2. Prepare a new or updated Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan to address COVID-19-related issues, post the Plan on-site at all entrances and exits, and produce a copy of the Plan to County governmental authorities upon request. The Plan must be translated as necessary to ensure that all non-English speaking workers are able to understand the Plan.
    3. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) specifically for use in construction, including gloves, goggles, face shields, and face coverings as appropriate for the activity being performed. At no time may a contractor secure or use medical-grade PPE, unless required due to the medical nature of a job site.  Face coverings must be worn in compliance with the April 17, 2020 Guidance from the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, available at: www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/learn-what-to-do.aspx#howto.
    4. Ensure that employees are trained in the use of PPE. Maintain and make available a log of all PPE training provided to employees and monitor all employees to ensure proper use of the PPE. 
    5. Prohibit sharing of PPE.
    6. Implement social distancing requirements including, at minimum:
      1. Stagger stop- and start-times for shift schedules to reduce the quantity of workers at the jobsite at any one time to the extent feasible.
      2. Stagger trade-specific work to minimize the quantity of workers at the jobsite at any one time.
      3. Require social distancing by maintaining a minimum six-foot distance between workers at all times, except as strictly necessary to carry out a task associated with the project.
      4. Prohibit gatherings of any size on the jobsite, except for safety meetings or as strictly necessary to carry out a task associated with the project.
      5. Strictly control “choke points” and “high-risk areas” where workers are unable to maintain minimum six-foot social distancing and prohibit or limit use to ensure that minimum six-foot distancing can easily be maintained between workers.
      6. Minimize interactions and maintain social distancing with all site visitors, including delivery workers, design professional and other project consultants, government agency representatives, including building and fire inspectors, and residents at residential construction sites.
      7. Prohibit workers from using others’ phones or desks. Any work tools or equipment that must be used by more than one worker must be cleaned with disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19 before use by a new worker.
      8. Place wash stations or hand sanitizers that are effective against COVID-19 at entrances to the jobsite and in multiple locations dispersed throughout the jobsite as warranted.
      9. Maintain a daily attendance log of all workers and visitors that includes contact information, including name, address, phone number, and email.
      10. Post a notice in an area visible to all workers and visitors instructing workers and visitors to do the following:
        1. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands or with gloves.
        2. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
        3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, machines, shared tools, elevator control buttons, and doorknobs.
        4. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing or cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm at your elbow/sleeve.
        5. Do not enter the jobsite if you have a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel sick, or have been exposed to anyone who is sick, stay at home.
        6. Constantly observe your work distances in relation to other staff. Maintain the recommended minimum six-feet distancing at all times when not wearing the necessary PPE for working in close proximity to another person.
        7. Do not share phones or PPE.
      11. The notice in section 2.f.x must be translated as necessary to ensure that all non-English speaking workers are able to understand the notice.
    7. Implement cleaning and sanitization practices in accordance with the following:
      1. Frequently clean and sanitize, in accordance with CDC guidelines, all high-traffic and high-touch areas including, at a minimum: meeting areas, jobsite lunch and break areas, entrances and exits to the jobsite, jobsite trailers, hand-washing areas, tools, equipment, jobsite restroom areas, stairs, elevators, and lifts.
      2. Establish a cleaning and decontamination protocol prior to entry and exit of the jobsite and post the protocol at entrances and exits of jobsite.
      3. Supply all personnel performing cleaning and sanitization with proper PPE to prevent them from contracting COVID-19. Employees must not share PPE.
      4. Establish adequate time in the workday to allow for proper cleaning and decontamination including prior to starting at or leaving the jobsite for the day.
    8. Implement a COVID-19 community spread reduction plan as part of the Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan that includes, at minimum, the following restrictions and requirements:
      1. Prohibit all carpooling to and from the jobsite except by workers living within the same household unit, or as necessary for workers who have no alternative means of transportation.
      2. Cal-OSHA requires employers to provide water, which should be provided in single-serve containers. Prohibit any sharing of any food or beverage and if sharing is observed, the worker must be sent home for the day.
      3. Prohibit use of microwaves, water coolers, and other similar shared equipment.
    9. Assign a COVID-19 Safety Compliance Officer (SCO) to the jobsite and ensure the SCO’s name is posted on the Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan. The SCO must:
      1. Ensure implementation of all recommended safety and sanitation requirements regarding the COVID-19 virus at the jobsite.
      2. Compile daily written verification that each jobsite is compliant with the components of this LCP Protocol. Each written verification form must be copied, stored, and made immediately available upon request by any County official.
      3. Establish a daily screening protocol for arriving staff, to ensure that potentially infected staff do not enter the construction site. If workers leave the jobsite and return the same day, establish a cleaning and decontamination protocol prior to entry and exit of the jobsite.  Post the daily screening protocol at all entrances and exit to the jobsite.  More information on screening can be found online at:  www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.
      4. Conduct daily briefings in person or by teleconference that must cover the following topics:
        1. New jobsite rules and pre-job site travel restrictions for the prevention of COVID-19 community spread.
        2. Review of sanitation and hygiene procedures.
        3. Solicitation of worker feedback on improving safety and sanitation.
        4. Coordination of construction site daily cleaning/sanitation requirements.
        5. Conveying updated information regarding COVID-19.
        6. Emergency protocols in the event of an exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19.
      5. Develop and ensure implementation of a remediation plan to address any non-compliance with this LCP Protocol and post remediation plan at entrance and exit of jobsite during remediation period. The remediation plan must be translated as necessary to ensure that all non-English speaking workers are able to understand the document.
      6. The SCO must not permit any construction activity to continue without bringing such activity into compliance with these requirements.
      7. Report repeated non-compliance with this LCP Protocol to the appropriate jobsite supervisors and a designated County official.
    10. Assign a COVID-19 Third-Party Jobsite Safety Accountability Supervisor (JSAS) for the jobsite, who at a minimum holds an OSHA-30 certificate and first-aid training within the past two years, who must be trained in the protocols herein and verify compliance, including by visual inspection and random interviews with workers, with this LCP Protocol.
      1. Within seven calendar days of each jobsite visit, the JSAS must complete a written assessment identifying any failure to comply with this LCP Protocol. The written assessment must be copied, stored, and, upon request by the County, sent to a designated County official. 
      2. If the JSAS discovers that a jobsite is not in compliance with this LCP Protocol, the JSAS must work with the SCO to develop and implement a remediation plan.
      3. The JSAS must coordinate with the SCO to prohibit continuation of any work activity not in compliance with rules stated herein until addressed and the continuing work is compliant.
      4. The remediation plan must be sent to a designated County official within five calendar days of the JSAS’s discovery of the failure to comply.
    11. In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at any jobsite, the following must take place:
      1. Immediately remove the infected individual from the jobsite with directions to seek medical care.
      2. Each location the infected worker was at must be decontaminated and sanitized by an outside vendor certified in hazmat clean ups, and work in these locations must cease until decontamination and sanitization is complete.
      3. The County Public Health Department must be notified immediately and any additional requirements per the County health officials must be completed, including full compliance with any tracing efforts by the County.
    12. Where construction work occurs within an occupied residential unit, any separate work area must be sealed off from the remainder of the unit with physical barriers such as plastic sheeting or closed doors sealed with tape to the extent feasible. If possible, workers must access the work area from an alternative entry/exit door to the entry/exit door used by residents. Available windows and exhaust fans must be used to ventilate the work area. If residents have access to the work area between workdays, the work area must be cleaned and sanitized at the beginning and at the end of workdays. Every effort must be taken to minimize contact between workers and residents, including maintaining a minimum of six feet of social distancing at all times.
    13. Where construction work occurs within common areas of an occupied residential or commercial building or a mixed-use building in use by on-site employees or residents, any separate work area must be sealed off from the rest of the common areas with physical barriers such as plastic sheeting or closed doors sealed with tape to the extent feasible. If possible, workers must access the work area from an alternative building entry/exit door to the building entry/exit door used by residents or other users of the building. Every effort must be taken to minimize contact between worker and building residents and users, including maintaining a minimum of six feet of social distancing at all times.

 

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Last updated: 5/26/2020 12:58 PM