Cleaning offices and public spaces to prevent COVID-19

Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:

  • All surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • All potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones

Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected.

If a person becomes ill in a shared space, these should be cleaned using disposable cloths and household detergents, according to current recommended workplace legislation and practice. Precautionary measures should be taken to protect cleaners.

All waste that has been in contact with the individual, including used tissues, and masks if used, should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. It should be put in a safe place and marked for storage until the result is available. If the individual tests negative, this can be put in the normal waste. Should the individual test positive, you will be instructed what to do with the waste by public health authorities.

Advice on travel and meetings

Returning from travel to affected areas

People who have returned from countries with high burden of Covid-19 and any area under containment measures in the last 14 days identified by your national authorities or the NCDC should avoid attending work. They should call the designated public health service for advice and self-isolate.

Advice from your national public health authority is in place for what to do if you have returned in the last 14 days from specified countries or areas, which is updated on an ongoing basis.

All other staff should continue to attend work, unless otherwise advised by the national authorities or their employer.

Advice for staff returning from travel anywhere else within the last 14 days

These staff can continue to attend work unless they have been informed that they have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. If individuals are aware that they have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should contact their employer and the designated public health services for further advice.

The latest country information is available from the national authorities or and

Organising meetings or events

Organisers of meetings and events need to think about the potential risk from COVID-19 because:

  • There is a risk that people attending your meeting or event might be unwittingly bringing the COVID-19 virus to the meeting.
  • Others might be unknowingly exposed to COVID-19.

BEFORE the meeting or event

  1. Consider whether the meeting or event is necessary or whether it could be postponed or replaced with a tele or video conference. Can it be scaled down so that fewer people attend?
  2. Check and follow the advice from the authorities in the community where you plan to hold the meeting or event.
  3. Develop and agree a preparedness plan to prevent infection at your meeting or event

Ensure and verify information and communication channels in advance with key partners such as public health and health care authorities

Pre-order sufficient supplies and materials, including tissues and hand sanitizer for all participants.

Actively monitor where COVID-19 is circulating. Advise participants in advance that if they have any symptoms or feel unwell, they should not attend.

Make sure all organisers, participants, caterers and visitors at the event provide contact details: mobile telephone number, email and address where they are staying. State clearly that their details will be shared with local public health authorities if any participant becomes ill with a suspected infectious disease. If they will not agree to this, they cannot attend the event or meeting

Develop and agree a response plan in case someone at the meeting becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (see ‘What to do if an employee or a member of the public becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19’ above)

DURING the meeting or event

  1. Provide information or a briefing, preferably both orally and in writing, on COVID-19 and the measures that organisers are taking to make this event safe for participants.
  2. Build trust. For example, as an icebreaker, practice ways to say hello without touching.
  3. Encourage regular hand-washing or use of an alcohol rub by all participants at the meeting or event
  4. Encourage participants to cover their face with the bend of their elbow or a tissue if they cough or sneeze. Supply tissues and closed bins to dispose of them in.
  5. Provide contact details or a health hotline number that participants can call for advice or to give information.
  • Display dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub prominently around the venue.
  • If there is space, arrange seats so that participants are at least one metre apart.
  • Open windows and doors whenever possible to make sure the venue is well ventilated.
  • If anyone starts to feel unwell, follow your preparedness plan (see ‘What to do if an employee or a member of the public becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19’).

AFTER the meeting

  1. Retain the names and contact details of all participants for at least one month. This will help public health authorities trace people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 if one or more participants become ill shortly after the event.
  2. If someone at the meeting or event was isolated as a suspected COVID-19 case, the organiser should let all participants know this. They should be advised to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. If they start to feel unwell, they should stay at home and contact the relevant public health authority.

Handling post, packages or food from affected areas

Employees should continue to follow existing risk assessments and safe systems of work. There is no perceived increase in risk for handling post or freight from specified areas.

Leave A Comment

Your Comment
All comments are held for moderation.