COVID-19 Safety: Please Follow The Rules

November 24, 2020

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) staff have been performing walkthroughs of research buildings to ensure that University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) on-site personnel are following safe practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. To avoid any confusion about the rules, EHS prepared this guide.

Face Coverings: Do I Have to Wear a Mask at All times While on Campus?

  • A face covering must be worn at all times while on UMB’s campus or at an off-campus location occupied by UMB community members (Universities at Shady Grove, Donaldson Brown Riverfront Event Center, Columbus Center, etc.). UMB’s campus is defined as all property owned, leased, or operated by UMB. This includes outdoor and indoor locations including all buses or shuttles operated by UMB.
  • Face coverings must fit securely over both the nose and the mouth.
  • The city of Baltimore’s mask mandate requires mask wearing anytime you are outdoors unless you are eating or drinking. UMB expects you to maintain physical distance anytime your mask is off outdoors, even if you are eating or drinking.
  • For more information, you can read the UMB Policy Requiring Face Coverings or the Baltimore City Health Department order.
  • You do not have to wear a mask indoors if you are ALONE in an office or lab and have the door CLOSED.
  • You do not have to wear a mask indoors if you are in a break room to eat or drink and are seated more than 6 feet apart from any other individuals. NOTE: Employees should make every effort to stagger breaks so that people are not eating at the same time. Employees also are encouraged to eat outdoors.

Physical Distancing: Do I Have to Keep Physical Distance at All times While on Campus?

UMB expects employees to ALWAYS observe physical distancing guidelines with the limited exception of those instances when a person’s job duties cannot be performed from a 6-foot distance.

  • A face covering does not negate the need for physical distancing. If a person must be within 6 feet of another person, they should minimize this time as much as possible even when wearing face coverings.
  • Some spaces such as kitchens, restrooms, and elevators have occupancy limits posted. If the occupancy limit has already been met, wait before you enter the area. For example, if a break room has an occupancy limit of two individuals, more than two people should not be inside even if they are just using the microwave or removing their lunch from a refrigerator.
  • There should be no on-campus social gatherings and no organized group meals. Individuals should not be congregating for meal breaks.

Building Density: How Many People Are Allowed to Be in Research Areas?

UMB expects researchers to limit the density of research spaces.

  • Research continues to operate in Phase 2 of laboratory operations, meaning lab occupancy should be at 50 percent or below with a minimum of 150 square feet per person.
  • Time on campus should be kept to the minimum necessary. If you can work from home, you should work from home.
  • Personal visitors of employees (including children) are not allowed on campus. Children are allowed on campus only if they are participating in an organized UMB activity.

Compliance: Are There Consequences for Not Following These Rules?

UMB expects all researchers and their research staff to follow these rules.

  • The most significant consequence of not complying is that it puts you, your colleagues, your patients, and your household at risk.
  • Repeated failure to follow rules may result in noncompliant individuals being asked to leave campus or in the closure of a noncompliant lab.
  • Supervisors may impose disciplinary consequences against individuals who do not comply with safety rules.

EHS is a partner to the research community and, as always, will make every attempt to work amicably with individuals to resolve issues. However, with the pandemic surging, we cannot permit behavior that increases the risk to our community.

Note: Print this guidance as a flyer to have on hand at your work station or desk: COVID19_Mask-Rules-V3