COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Cleaning & Disinfecting Public Spaces, Businesses, Schools & Homes

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the widespread temporary closure of businesses, schools and institutions that were deemed non-essential. As these entities prepared to begin to reopen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released COVID-19 Reopening Guidance in “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting – Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes”.

The CDC guidance is intended for all Americans, whether they own a business, run a school or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of their home. As stated by the agency, reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfection is an important part of reopening public spaces that requires careful planning.

According to the CDC, cleaning and disinfecting public spaces requires:
• Developing a plan
• Implementing the plan
• Maintaining and revising the plan

Develop the Plan

The CDC recommends people first develop a plan by evaluating the workplace, school, home or business to determine what kinds of surfaces and materials make up that area. Most surfaces and objects will just need normal routine cleaning. However, frequently touched surfaces and objects, like light switches and doorknobs, will need to be cleaned and then disinfected to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects.

Implement the Plan

Once a plan is in place, it’s time to take action. Read all manufacturer’s instructions for the cleaning and disinfection products that will be used. Wear gloves and other required personal protective equipment (PPE) to begin the process of cleaning and disinfecting.

The agency’s general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices includes:

• First, clean the surface or object with soap and water.
• Then, disinfect using an EPA-approved disinfectant.
• If an EPA-approved disinfectant is unavailable, one can use 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions to disinfect. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together.

Maintain and Revise the Plan

The CDC suggests that people continue to update their plan based on updated guidance and their current circumstances. This can be achieved by continuing routine cleaning and disinfecting, maintaining safe behavioral practices, and by considering practices that reduce the potential for exposure.

These are just a few of the many things to know about cleaning and disinfecting public spaces provided in the CDC’s reopening guidance. To learn more about this or other environmental, building science, infection control, health or safety issues, please visit the websites shown below.

Clark Seif Clark
EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing
Zimmetry Environmental
Healthy Indoors Magazine

Also see our other videos on the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Reopening Buildings after Coronavirus

Airplanes and COVID-19 – Preventing the Spread of Germs