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Municipal Matters: Maine DECD Issues COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for Public Buildings and Large Social Gatherings 


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Municipal Matters: Maine DECD Issues COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for Public Buildings and Large Social Gatherings 

By: Phil Saucier and Mary Costigan

On May 20, 2020, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) issued Prevention Checklists for Public and Community Buildings and Large Social Gatherings. The following is a summary of the checklists, which can be found in their entirety at the links above.

Public and Community Buildings

The DECD checklist includes guidelines for safe operation and public use of buildings such as:

  • Limit the number of individuals that can gather in a shared space, in accordance with Executive Orders from the Governor
    Require all staff, vendors, and visitors to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group whenever possible
  • Require all staff, vendors, and visitors to wear a face covering
  • Provide services and conduct business by phone or internet to the greatest extent practicable
  • Modify building traffic flow to minimize contact
  • Use digital rather than paper formats to the greatest extent practicable
  • For contact tracing purposes, to the extent practicable, establishments should maintain a record including contact information for visitors and staff who have direct prolonged interaction
  • Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to allow for physical distancing
  • Clean and disinfect restrooms on a regular and scheduled basis

The Checklist also includes guidelines for employees, such as:

  • Employees should consider whether they can work safely in a public building if they have any of these conditions and managers should discuss potential risks for individuals with certain conditions, such as people 65 or older and people with underlying medical conditions
  • Require employees to practice good hand hygiene
  • Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding
  • Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable
  • Limit in-person gatherings or meetings of employees to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Provide employee training on COVID-19 safety

Large Social Gatherings

As some municipalities contemplate in-person public meetings, these guidelines apply, including the following:

  • Total group numbers must adhere to the gathering size limit as established by the Governor’s current Executive Order
  • Face coverings should be worn in public settings when physical distancing is not possible
  • Outside events are preferable to inside events in order to reduce the risk of exposure to respiratory droplets from attendees. Increase airflow through open windows and doors for indoor events to the extent practicable
  • For indoor events, understand the square footage of event space and limit the number of people in the building to no more than the maximum allowable described in the checklist guidance for retail businesses
  • The guidance for retail businesses includes the following table for the maximum number of persons allowed. In order to hold an indoor public meeting, the meeting room must meet the square footage indicated. If it is not possible to meet the guidelines, remote public meetings continue to be permitted

Sq. Ft.                         Number of Customers
<7,500                                      5
7,500 – 12,000                         15
12,001 – 18,000                       35
18,001 – 40,000                       45
40,001 – 60,000                       70
60,000+                                   100

  • Follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting

Bottom Line

The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and requiring businesses to adapt quickly to legal, regulatory, economic, and community impacts. Our municipal law team is monitoring these developments in real time and we’re here to support and assist you as needed. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be helpful to you.

To learn more visit our Coronavirus Legal Response Team webpage or our Municipal Team webpage.