COVID-19 Re-Opening Safety Plan

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On behalf of the Staff and Board of the Ontario County Historical Society, and the Ontario Arts Council, we welcome you to the 1914 Bragdon museum building. 

In compliance with the New York State’s Pause COVID-19 declarations, OCHS has taken steps to make sure we are  complying with all State and CDC guidelines for re-opening, so that we can assure – to the best of our ability — that our visitors and staff are safe and comfortable in our museum.

Each re-opening business or organization must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. We do not have to submit this to a state agency for approval, but it must be retained on the premises and must be made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health and safety authorities in the event of an inspection.

We must also post it on our website www.ochs.org.  This will be done once the Board of Trustees approves the plan.

Our first priority of this plan is to our staff and volunteers who are here on a daily basis.

Our new rules and protocols set forth below will depend on the mandates and restrictions set by Governor Cuomo and CDC, but we hope to eventually be able to open fully for our regular activities. A four-phase program is planned. 

Before opening, we instituted an ongoing, defensive cleaning program by SERVPRO that follows the protocols set forth by the CDC, and the use of EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectants. This was done using a fog of this disinfectant, a green product that has no odor. 

SERVPRO has long experience in dealing with biological contaminants, going beyond the normal janitorial scope of cleaning. The cleaning includes cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of waste. It was highly recommended for COVID-19 cleaning programs.

High-touch surfaces including telephones, keyboards, computer screens, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, tablets, and tables were cleaned, as well as our kitchen, restrooms, front counter, elevator, stair wells and stair rails. 

No artifacts on third floor, paper, or books in the gift shop were fogged. 

The museum carpets were professionally cleaned before we installed our newest exhibits.

Volunteers and staff and frequent visitors will be instructed to follow the CDC guidelines for frequent handwashing, keeping a social distance, wearing masks.

It is our plan to have a weekly cleaning service coming to clean stairways, the archive floors, restrooms, railings, front counter. A log will be kept on site documenting date, time, and scope of cleaning. There will be visible changes as you enter the museum to further comply with CDC guidelines for safety. You will find: 

  • No-touch exhibits
  • Floor markings or signs for social distancing
  • Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and free masks at the front desk.

In our most restrictive plan, we will make a one-way-IN, one-way-OUT path through the museum for visitors, if we find that it is necessary for social distance, or if it’s feasible given security or public safety.

For the time being, masks will be mandatory within the public areas of the museum.

Research/Curatorial

Research will be by appointment only, on specific days to be announced.  This will help utilize distancing safely and place our volunteers at ease.  Research appointments can be made via our website, or by phone. This will make contact tracing easier for authorities.

Appointments with the curator are preferred and can be made by phone or email.

Research hours will be 10am to noon, and 1pm to 4:30pm.

We ask that no more than four researchers or visitors be in our library at one time, and that all researchers wear the assigned nitrile, non-latex gloves and masks that will be made available.

Continuing with our longstanding policy there is no access to the museum archives or stacks by the public. Staff will assist in finding materials.

Education Programming

Reservations for our programs will be required. Programs will be limited to a graduated capacity, depending on the COVID-19 guidelines by the State: 20% capacity in Phase 2, 50% in Phase 3, full capacity in Phase 4.

Personnel

During lunch hour, staff and volunteers will be responsible for wiping down tops of research library tables, front desk, and surfaces in the lunchroom after use with a disinfecting product.

Staff hours remain the same.

Staff will not be required to wear masks when alone in their offices but must put on a mask when going into public areas of the museum or to greet visitors.

Staff will have a health screening, temperatures taken upon entering each day. A chart will be kept, to keep track. The person doing the screening will have a mask and gloves provided. (State requirement)

If an employee is ill, he or she will be sent home. 

A positive test for COVID-19 in an employee must be reported to the director, and the director must report it to the Ontario County Board of Health and the NYS Dept. of Health.

 

STEPS FOR OPENING

We will reopen the Museum in gradual Steps, based on the directives posted on Governor Cuomo’s web site, regarding slowing of infection numbers.  The Governor’s site is the ultimate guide for guidance. It supersedes all other governing bodies in the state.

STEP 1:   Full public closure of the Museum.  

The Museum is closed to all visitors and researchers.  All programs and events cancelled. Staff will continue to work in the Museum or from home.

STEP 2:  The Museum reopens, with limitations. 

Generally

The museum will close for lunch hour, between noon and 1pm. This lunch hour will stay in effect permanently.

We reserve the right to limit the number of visitors in the museum at one time.

Social distancing will be in effect in all public areas. Masks must be worn, either personal masks or a mask provided by the front desk. Visitors will be offered hand sanitizer and/or disinfectant wipes in our foyer before entering the museum proper.

We will provide a sanitary receptacle for the disposal of masks and wipes at exit points. 

Families who live together are considered one unit and must practice social distance as one, staying together as they proceed through the exhibits.

No social events or committee meetings at the museum with more than 10 people.

Use of women’s restroom will be limited to one person at a time, or one adult and child. The men’s restroom is handicap accessible and already a one-person facility. A log will be kept of cleaning.

Research and Curatorial

Appointments with the curator are preferred and can be directly made by phone or email at curator@ochs.org .

Appointments to use the Research Room will be required. Research hours will be 10 am to noon, and 1pm to 4:30pm and will be restricted based on volunteer availability. Call (585) 394-4975.

No more than four researchers or visitors can be in our library at one time, and that all researchers wear the nitrile, non-latex gloves and masks provided.

Continuing with our longstanding policy there is no access to the museum archives or stacks by the public. Staff will assist in finding materials.

 

Education Programming

Reservations to programs are required. Programs may be limited to a graduated capacity, depending on the guidelines by the State: In Phase 2, 20% of room capacity permitted. 

Personnel 

Museum and staff hours remain the same.  Lunch hour will be 12PM to 1PM 

Daily, staff will have a health screening and temperatures taken upon entering. A chart will be used to keep track. The person doing the screening will have a mask and gloves provided. (State requirement)

If an employee is found to be ill, he or she will be sent home. 

During lunch hour, staff and volunteers will be responsible for wiping down tops of research library tables, front desk, and surfaces in the lunchroom after use with a disinfecting product.

Staff will not be required to wear masks when alone in their offices but must put on a mask when going into public areas of the museum during open hours. 

Any positive test for COVID-19 in an employee must be reported to the director, and the director must report it to the Ontario County Board of Health and the NYS Dept. of Health.

STEP 3: Some restrictions eased 

Depending on the mandate from the Governor and the CDC, some requirements pertaining to operations, social distancing and personnel entry testing protocols may be eased.

New hours for lunch will stay in place.

Research will still be by appointment. Same requirements as Phase 2.

The number of people at gatherings or meetings inside will be limited to no more than 20 people.  Social distancing requirements may be eased. 

Educational programs require reservations. Depending on the guidelines by the State, attendance may be limited to 50% of the room’s capacity.

STEP 4: – The museum returns to normal, pre-pandemic operations.

The museum will return to regular pre COVID-19 hours of operation and the museum will continue to close during the lunch hour, between noon and 1pm. Educational programs will not require reservations and attendance will return to full capacity. 

It’s important to know the museum reserves the right to revert to any phase necessary, based on guidance from the Governor’s office.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]