How Do We Find the “New Normal” in Indoor Public Spaces?

CultureHouse Indoor Public Space at Harvard Square

Setting limits for the number of people in the space.

  • This is flexible depending on the location and the space available, but this is generally the limiting factor in reopening plans and governs a lot of the other considerations in the decision making process.

Entry and Exit

  • Planning so that people can enter and exit the space while maintaining social distancing and avoiding contact with surfaces is crucial to ensure the safety of all people that interact with the space.
  • This is also a good opportunity to take part in contact tracing operations, and having people sign in, or provide some contact information, as they enter is helpful in the case of a suspected outbreak.

Screening

  • While many states and municipalities require businesses and indoor spaces to conduct basic screening, not all do. Regardless of whether implemented at the state or municipal level, this is an important step in ensuring the safety of both visitors and employees in the space.
  • There are many different types of screening, which usually involve asking people at the door whether they’ve experienced symptoms recently or been in contact with those experiencing symptoms.
  • Another effective screening technique is to use a contactless forehead thermometer to check the temperature of people entering the space.

Masks and Sanitization

  • At the screening check-in stage, it is important to remind/require people to wear masks at all times when in the space.
  • It has also become standard practice to have a hand sanitizing station at the entrance of the space so that people can sanitize their hands as they enter.

Symptomatic People

  • In the event that somebody is in the space and expressing COVID-19 symptoms or has a thermometer reading that indicates a fever, it is useful to have a protocol in place for how to deal with people in this condition. This plan varies depending on the type of activity these people plan to do, and whether they’re an individual or in a group.
  • There should also be a plan for how to manage the situation when one person in a group is denied entry upon screening.

Accessibility

  • Deaf visitors who read lips may require screening from a worker wearing a clear face covering or one with a see-through window over their mouth.

Signage

  • It is essential to make sure that your policies and COVID-19 restrictions are clear and easily available for users of the space to see.
  • Signage can include informational posters, or even delineate physical distancing with 6ft separated dots on the ground for lines, as many businesses have started doing.
  • Organized physical infrastructure is just as important as signage in many cases.

Virtual Queuing

  • Another method of reducing congestion and overcrowding is to use virtual queuing to organize visitors to your space. At CultureHouse, we’ve been using youcanbook.me. There are many other paid options that provide other features that may be useful for certain purposes.
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CultureHouse improves livability in local communities by transforming unused spaces into vibrant social infrastructure.

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