Health Department answers reopening questions

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Questions about parks, social clubs, yard sales answered

The Barry County Health Department has issued a press release addressing frequently asked questions regarding the Phase 1 reopening, which began on Monday.

Q: What is physical distancing?

A: Sometimes referred to as social distancing, it is the separation of non-related individuals by at least 6 feet in all directions. The Health Department’s goal is to encourage social interactions and activities, while maintaining a safe distance to avoid additional infections. Individual groups of 10 people or less are permitted as long as 6 feet of physical distance is maintained between groups. This includes indoor dining and worship services.

Q: Ok, but what is enhanced physical distancing?

A: Physical distancing requirements are based on individuals standing still, since droplets that carry the virus which are expelled during exhalation, sneezes, and coughs typically fall to the ground and/or evaporate within 6 feet. The aerodynamics of moving individuals and increased respiratory effort creates an additional area of potential infection. Activities that involve running or a brisk/fast pace (greater than 3 mph) walking, require a minimum of 32 feet between individuals.

Q: What is an enhanced hygiene practice?

A: Surfaces that are frequently touched must be wiped with an appropriate antimicrobial solution that is allowed to air dry between individual users. An easy way to do this is using a bleach solution (1/3 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water) in a spray bottle, sprayed on the surface and not wiped.

Q: Why are masks required for some and recommended for all?

A: The best strategy is to decrease the potential for people unknowingly infecting others. Source Control masking stops droplets from being expelled during breathing, coughing, sneezing, and talking. This is the best way for a person to protect your friends, family, and neighbors when within 6 feet of them. Since service providers/servers encounter a large number of persons during a workday, they are required to wear a cloth or surgical style mask laundered between shifts, for your protection. CDC Guidance on wearing and making cloth face masks (coverings): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-co...

Q: Please explain the occupancy requirements?

A: Buildings open to the public, (all businesses, government offices, organizations) are limited to a total number of customers, users, or patrons equal to 10 percent of the total square footage of the building divided by 30. This number does not include employees, organizers, and individuals delivering products and providing services necessary to continued operations. For a 5,000-square-foot single-story building (square footage of the entire building), divide 5,000 by 30 = 167 divided by 10 = 17 customers, users, or patrons plus employees organizers, and individuals delivering products. For a 3-story building and each story is 5,000 square feet, the business is allowed 17 customers, users, or patrons plus employees organizers, and individuals delivering products on each floor.

Q: The State Order allows for inside church services. Can we hold inside services in Barry County?

A: Yes, Barry County Officials have modified the requirements for worship services, if physical distancing requirements are maintained. Those requirements include 6 feet of physical distance between groups of 10 or less. Common practices such as hand shaking, embraces and any shared cups should be avoided.

Q: Can private clubs and organizations have meetings and gatherings?

A: Yes, as long as the occupancy, physical distancing, and enhanced hygiene requirements are observed.

Q: Can summer sports leagues begin playing games?

A: Unlikely in May. Since extended physical distancing and enhanced hygiene requirements must be observed, holding regular games would be very difficult. However, team practices which follow the extended physical distancing and enhanced hygiene requirements can begin as of May 4. Games are expected to be played beginning in June.

Q: What about yard sales and auctions? Can those begin operating?

Yes, with some considerations. Outside yard sales and auctions, must maintain the physical distancing requirements and enhanced hygiene requirements. Inside auctions and “yard sales” must meet the occupancy, physical distancing, and enhanced hygiene requirements.

Q: Are parks open?

A: Generally, parks are open to the public. However physical distancing and enhanced hygiene requirements may necessitate certain park facilities and equipment, such as bathrooms and playground equipment, to remain closed. Since most parks are operated by cities, those cities will make the final decision on what park facilities can be opened in compliance with the Phase 1 rules.

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