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NFPA Presents New Fact Sheet Regarding Business Reopenings
May 28, 2020

As stay-at-home policies ease and businesses reopen across the country, building owners and facility managers of offices, restaurants, and retail stores face unique challenges as they enter “the new normal.” Working to adhere to public health requirements and guidelines in response to COVID-19, businesses of all sizes are adjusting their physical configurations and operational usage to help minimize employee and customer exposure to the virus.

In that process, however, adequate levels of fire and life safety must be maintained.

With these challenges in mind, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards, has developed a new fact sheet, Ensuring Safety as Buildings Return to a New Normal, which works to help businesses meet states’ public health requirements while ensuring adequate levels of occupant safety.

“As businesses vigorously work to keep occupants safe from COVID-19, there is significant potential for modifications to be made that negatively impact fire and life safety levels, which could prove tragic in the event of a fire or other emergency,” said Jonathan Hart, a technical lead at NFPA. “While we completely understand and support efforts to minimize the virus’s spread, it’s critical that adequate safety is maintained in all capacities.”

The new fact sheet addresses guidelines and considerations in the following areas: egress management; queuing lines; occupant flow; partition placement; hand sanitizer storage and placement; automatic and power-operated doors; seating arrangements; and storage management.

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