On March 7, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202, declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Community transmission of COVID-19 has occurred throughout New York. To minimize further spread, social distancing of at least six feet must be maintained between individuals, where possible.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.6, directing all non-essential businesses to close in-office personnel functions. Essential businesses, as defined by Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) guidance, were not subject to the in-person restriction, but were, however, directed to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health (DOH), and were strongly urged to maintain social distancing measures to the extent possible.
On April 12, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.16, directing essential businesses to provide employees, who are present in the workplace, with a face covering, at no-cost, that must be used when in direct contact with patrons or members of the public during the course of their work.
On April 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.17, directing that any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering must cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.
On April 16, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.18, directing that everyone using public or private transportation carriers or other for-hire vehicles, who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering, must wear a mask or face covering over the nose and mouth during any such trip. It also directed any operators or drivers of public or private transport to wear 2 a face covering or mask which covers the nose and mouth while there are any passengers in such a vehicle.
On April 26, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced a phased approach to reopen industries and businesses in New York in phases based upon a data-driven, regional analysis.
On May 4, 2020, the Governor provided that the regional analysis would consider several public health factors, including new COVID-19 infections, as well as health care system, diagnostic testing, and contact tracing capacity.
On May 11, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that the first phase of reopening would begin on May 15, 2020 in several regions of New York, based upon available regional metrics and indicators.
In addition to the following standards, both essential and non-essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining clean and safe work environments issued by DOH.
Please note that where guidance in this document differs from other guidance documents issued by New York State, the more recent guidance shall apply.
Standards for Responsible Curbside / Grab & Go Pickup
No curbside and grab & go pickup activity will occur without meeting the following minimum State standards, as well as applicable federal requirements, including but not limited to such minimum standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The State standards contained within this guidance apply to all curbside and grab & go pickup activities in operation during the COVID-19 public health emergency until rescinded or amended by the State. The library board of trustees has designated the library Director as the person responsible for meeting these standards.
The following guidance is organized around three distinct categories: people, places, and processes.
The library must ensure that for any curbside and grab & go pickup activity, the workforce presence is limited to only the employees necessary to conduct curbside and pickup activities, but no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy or no more than one person for every 150 sq ft of available space, inclusive of patrons picking up library materials who must maintain six feet of separation from others or wear an acceptable face covering; and
The library must ensure that a distance of at least six feet is maintained among employees at all times, unless safety of the core activity requires a shorter distance (e.g. operating the circulation desk, moving and lifting materials). Any time employees must come within six feet of another person, acceptable face coverings must be worn. Employees must be prepared to don a face covering if another person unexpectedly comes within six feet.
- Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks that cover both the mouth and nose.
The library will modify the use and/or restrict the number of work spaces and employee seating areas, so that employees are at least six feet apart in all directions (e.g. side-to-side and when facing one another) and are not sharing work stations or spaces without cleaning and disinfection between use. When distancing is not feasible between work stations or spaces, the library must provide and require the use of face coverings or enact physical barriers, such as plastic shielding walls, in lieu of face coverings in areas where they would not affect air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation.
- Physical barriers should be put in place in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
- Physical barrier options may include: strip curtains, plexiglass or similar materials, or other impermeable dividers or partitions.
The library will take the following measures to facilitate curbside and grab & go pickup, in accordance with OSHA guidance “COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants & Beverage Vendors Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup”:
- Display signage with the services available, instructions for ordering and pickup, and hours of operation for pickup.
- Avoid direct handoff, when possible.
- Advise pick-up time windows to stagger patron arrivals.
- Encourage patrons to pick-up materials one at a time while remaining patrons wait six feet away.
- Remind patrons of the need to use a face covering, particularly when a distance of at least six feet from others is not possible.
The library will encourage patrons to use touchless payment options for payment of library fines, lost items fees, or other services such as printing, copying, or faxing. Minimize handling cash, library cards, and mobile devices, where possible.
The library will modify layouts so that employees are at least six feet apart in all directions, unless physical barriers are in place (e.g. Plexiglass or other barriers at the circulation desk).
- The library must require that employees use cloth face masks when interacting with patrons.
- The library must reserve adequate space for employees to work, considering appropriate social distancing (e.g. close high-density areas, rearrange fixtures, have employees use separate computers, when available).
The library will prohibit the use of tightly confined spaces (e.g. closets, behind the circulation desk, narrow book stacks, lift) by more than one individual at a time, unless all employees in such spaces at the same time are wearing acceptable face coverings. However, occupancy must never exceed 50% of the maximum capacity of the space, unless it is designed for use by a single occupant. The library should increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g. opening windows, leaving doors open), while maintaining safety protocols.
The library will put in place measures to reduce bi-directional foot traffic using tape or signs with arrows in narrow book stacks, hallways, or spaces, and post signage and distance markers denoting spaces of six feet in all commonly used areas and any areas in which lines are commonly formed or people may congregate (e.g. circulation desk, front stairs, and lobby).
The library will post signs outside the building to remind individuals to adhere to social distancing instructions.
The library will post signs, consistent with DOH COVID-19 signage. The library may develop their own customized signage specific to their workplace or setting, provided that such signage is consistent with the Department’s signage. Signage should be used to remind employees to:
- Cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.
- Properly store and, when necessary, discard personal protective equipment.
- Adhere to physical distancing instructions.
- Report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19, and how they should do so.
- Follow hand hygiene and cleaning guidelines.
Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces
The library will limit in-person gatherings to the greatest extent possible and use other methods such as online messaging whenever possible, per CDC guidance “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”. When online messaging is not possible, the library should hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces and ensure that individuals maintain six feet of social distance between one another.
The library will put in place practices for adequate social distancing in confined areas and will develop signage and systems to restrict occupancy when social distancing cannot be maintained in such areas; and
The library will stagger or schedules for employees to observe social distancing. Employees who can work from home will continue to do so on a modified schedule.
The library will take measures to reduce interpersonal contact and congregation, through methods such as:
- limiting in-person presence to only those staff who are necessary to be on site while other staff work remotely;
- adjusting workflow to reduce employee and patron contact;
- batch activities, where possible, so employees can adhere to social distancing and reduce the number of hands touching library materials;
- The library will adjust hours for curbside or grab & go as necessary to enable enhanced cleaning procedures.
Movement and Commerce
The library will prohibit non-essential visitors on site.
The library will establish designated areas for pickups and returns, limiting contact to the extent possible.
The library will arrange patron waiting areas to maximize social distance among other patrons and minimize interaction with others in the area. Where possible, the library will implement a touchless pickup system whereby patrons collect items from a designated pickup area.
The library employee will sanitize hands before and after transferring library materials (e.g. to or from a library patron, or from the returns/drop box, or between employees.)
If patrons will be inside the library for more than 15-minutes, they must sign-in and attest that they have not been knowingly exposed to someone who has tested positive. This will be completed via a google form.
The library will ensure employees wear face coverings when interacting with patrons or coworkers within six feet distance AND without a physical barrier (e.g. plexiglass).
In addition to necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) as required for certain workplace activities, the library will procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain acceptable face coverings and provide such coverings to employees at work at no cost to the employee. Acceptable face coverings may include, but are not limited to, cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N95 respirators, and face shields.
Face covering must be cleaned and may not be shared. Employees will be responsible for washing or sanitizing face coverings between work shifts, and ensuring they arrive at work with sufficient clean coverings for the work day. Please consult the CDC guidance for additional information on cloth face covers and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as instructions on use and cleaning.
The library will allow employees to use their own acceptable face coverings but cannot require employees to supply their own face coverings. Further, this guidance shall not prevent employees from wearing their personally owned additional protective coverings (e.g. surgical masks, N95 respirators, or face shields), or if the library otherwise requires employees to wear more protective PPE due to the nature of their work. The library will comply with all applicable OSHA standards.
The library will put in place measures to limit the sharing of objects, such as library materials, office supplies, computers, and other items, as well as the touching of shared surfaces; or, require workers to wear gloves when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched surfaces; or, require workers to sanitize or wash their hands before and after contact.
The library will train workers on how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE, including but not limited to, appropriate face coverings.
Hygiene and Cleaning
The library will ensure adherence to hygiene and sanitation requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. The library will maintain cleaning logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning.
The library will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations on site, as follows:
- For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
- For sanitizer: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
The library will provide appropriate cleaning / disinfection supplies for shared and frequently touched surfaces and encourage employees to use these supplies before and after use of these surfaces, followed by hand hygiene.
The library will conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of the building and more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high risk areas used by many individuals and for frequently touched surfaces. Cleaning and disinfecting must be rigorous and ongoing and should occur at least after each shift, daily, or more frequently as needed. Please refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19” for detailed instructions on how to clean facilities.
- The library will ensure regular cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned more often depending on frequency of use.
- The library will ensure distancing rules are adhered to by reducing capacity where feasible.
- The library will ensure that equipment is regularly disinfected using registered disinfectants, including at least as often as employees change workstations. Refer to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) list of products registered in New York State identified by the EPA as effective against COVID-19.
- If cleaning or disinfection products or the act of cleaning and disinfecting causes safety hazards or degrades the material or equipment, the library will put in place hand hygiene stations between use and/or supply disposable gloves and/or limitations on the number of employees using such equipment.
The library will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 of an employee, with such cleaning to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g. shared equipment, handrails, bathrooms, door knobs).
CDC guidelines on “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility” if someone is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection are as follows:
- Close off areas used by the person who is sick. The library does not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off the affected areas.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
- Wait 24 hours before cleaning or disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as the circulation desk, bathroom, common areas, and shared equipment.
- Once the area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use.
- Employees without close contact with the person who is sick can return to the work area immediately after disinfection.
- Per CDC’s “Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” considerations when assessing close contact include the duration of exposure (e.g. longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk) and the clinical symptoms of the person with COVID-19 (e.g. coughing likely increases exposure risk as does exposure to a severely ill patient).
- If more than seven days have passed since the person who is sick visited or used the library, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.
The library will quarantine returned library materials for a minimum of 72 hours (or as recommended by a library or government authority) prior to lending those items to another patron.
For activities involving the handling of shared objects (e.g. computers), areas (e.g. circulation desk and/or pickup area), and/or surfaces (e.g. doors), the library will ensure that such areas and objects are cleaned daily, at a minimum.
The library will phase-in reopening activities so as to allow for operational issues to be resolved before library services or work activities return to normal levels. The library will limit the number of employees, service hours, programs, services, and number of patrons available to be served when first reopening so as to provide operations with the ability to adjust to the changes.
The library will affirm that they have reviewed and understand the state-issued industry guidelines, and that they will implement them.
The library will develop a communications plan for employees, visitors, and patrons that includes applicable instructions, training, signage, and a consistent means to provide employees and patrons with information. The library will communicate with patrons via signage and the internet.
The library will encourage patrons to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, specifically face coverings when a social distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained, through verbal communication and signage.
The library will post signage inside and outside of the building to remind employees and patrons to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
Screening and Testing
The library will implement mandatory daily health screening practices.
- Screening practices may be performed remotely before the employee reports to the library, to the extent possible; or may be performed on site.
- Screening will be required of all employees and essential visitors (but not patrons) and completed using a questionnaire that determines whether the worker or visitor has:
- knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19,
- tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or
- has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
According to CDC guidance on “Symptoms of Coronavirus,” the term “symptomatic” includes employees who have the following symptoms or combinations of symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, or at least two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
The library will require employees to immediately disclose if and when their responses to any of the aforementioned questions changes, such as if they begin to experience symptoms, including during or outside of work hours.
Daily temperature checks may also be conducted per Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or DOH guidelines. The library is prohibited from keeping records of employee health data (e.g. temperature data).
Employees will be expected to fill out a COVID attestation form daily.
The library will ensure that any personnel performing screening activities, including temperature checks, are appropriately protected from exposure to potentially infectious employees, essential visitors, or patrons entering the library. Personnel performing screening activities should be trained by employer-identified individuals who are familiar with CDC, DOH, and OSHA protocols.
Screeners will be provided and use PPE, including at a minimum, a face mask, and may include gloves, a gown, and/or a face shield.
An employee who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter the library and will be sent home with instructions to contact their healthcare provider for assessment and testing. The library must immediately notify the local health department and DOH about the suspected case. The library will provide the employee with information on healthcare and testing resources.
An employee who has responded that they have had close contact with a person who is confirmed or suspected for COVID-19 may not be allowed to enter the library without abiding by the precautions outlined below and the library has documented the employee’s adherence to those precautions.
The library will review all employee and essential visitor responses collected by the screening process on a daily basis and maintain a record of such review. Employees essential visitors will report to the library Director if they are experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, as noted in the questionnaire. In the event the Director is ill, the board president will be notified.
The library Director will be the safety monitor whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the safety plan.
To the extent possible, the library will maintain a log of every person, including employees and essential visitors, who may have close contact with other individuals at the library; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means. Log should contain contact information, such that all contacts may be identified, traced and notified in the event an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. The library must cooperate with local health department contact tracing efforts.
The library will not mandate that patrons complete a health screen or provide contact information but may encourage patrons to do so. The library will provide an option for patrons to provide contact information so they can be logged and contacted for contact tracing, if necessary.
The library and employees should take the following actions related to COVID-19 symptoms and contact:
- If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms AND EITHER tests positive for COVID-19 OR did not receive a test, the employee may only return to work after completing a 14-day self-quarantine. If an employee is critical to the operation or safety of the library, the library may consult their local health department and the most up-to-date CDC and DOH standards on the minimum number of days to quarantine before an employee is safely able to return to work with additional precautions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- If an employee does NOT have COVID-19 symptoms BUT tests positive for COVID-19, the employee may only return to work after completing a 14-day self-quarantine. If an employee is critical to the operation or safety of the library, the library may consult their local health department and the most up-to-date CDC and DOH standards on the minimum number of days to quarantine before an employee is safely able to return to work with additional precautions to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- If an employee has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is symptomatic, the employee should notify the library and follow the above protocol for a positive case.
- If an employee has had close contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time AND is NOT symptomatic, the employee should notify the library and adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift, which should be documented by the library:
- Regular monitoring: As long as the employee does not have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of the library’s occupational health program.
- Wear a mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure.
- Social distance: Employee should continue social distancing practices, including maintaining, at least, six feet distance from others.
- Disinfect and clean work spaces: Continue to clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared electronic equipment routinely.
- If an employee is symptomatic upon arrival at work or becomes sick during the day, the employee will be sent home immediately, following the above protocol for a positive case.
Tracing and Tracking
The library will notify the local health department and DOH immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by an employee or essential visitor at their site.
In the case of an employee, essential visitor, or patron who interacted at the library testing positive, the library will cooperate with the local health department to trace all contacts in the library and notify the health department of all employees, essential visitors, and patrons (as applicable) who entered the library dating back to 48 hours before the employee, essential visitor, or patron (as applicable) began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive, whichever is earlier, but maintain confidentiality as required by library policy, federal and state law, and regulations.
The local health department will implement monitoring and movement restrictions of infected or exposed persons including home isolation or quarantine.
Employees who are alerted that they have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19, and have been alerted via tracing, tracking or other mechanism, are required to self-report to the library at the time of alert and shall follow all required protocols as if they had been exposed at work.
The library will conspicuously post completed safety plans on site. The State has made available a business reopening safety plan template to guide business owners and operators in developing plans to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
Additional safety information, guidelines, and resources are available at:
New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19) Website
Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Website