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Museums and Other Tourist Attractions

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Introduction

This document is intended for employers, workers and customers/participants of museums and other tourist attractions, as an overview of potential hazards in the workplace due to COVID-19.

In all cases, guidance from local public health authorities must be followed and general COVID-19 prevention practices should be implemented, as outlined in Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19.

Venue Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Follow all federal, provincial, and municipal public health and occupational health and safety guidelines that apply to your services and activities. Make cleanliness and disinfection a priority and adjust measures accordingly.
  • Add hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) stations for worker and visitor use.
  • Inspect, clean and disinfect washrooms frequently. Do they have running water, well stocked supplies (e.g., soap, paper towels, toilet paper) and plastic lined waste containers?
  • Implement a daily cleaning schedule for all cafeterias, lunchrooms, workspaces and exhibits.
  • Clean and disinfect high-traffic areas and contact surfaces more frequently per day such as keys, doors, elevator buttons, handrails, doorknobs, push plates, counters, handles, carts, handrails, light switches, shelves, countertops, drawers, keyboards and mice, touchscreens, payment keypads, cash drawers, pens, tools, phones, radios, vending machines, tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, exhibit windows, and interactive displays.
  • Use appropriate cleaners and disinfectants with a drug identification number (DIN). This number means it has been approved by Health Canada. Some equipment, displays, phones, and tablets will require alcohol or disinfectant wipes instead of traditional cleaners, to avoid getting damaged.
  • Follow the health and safety requirements for your jurisdiction including following the Workplace Hazardous.
  • Provide workers with training on cleaning and disinfecting procedures, adequate supplies and access to required personal protective equipment (PPE) if needed. Check the product’s safety data sheet or label for safe use instructions.
  • If workers need to wear PPE, train them on how to wear, remove, work with, care for the equipment, and to understand its limitations.
  • Dispose of used tissues, wipes, gloves, and other cleaning materials in a plastic lined waste container.
  • Use disposable gloves when handling garbage. and follow up with hand hygiene.

Staff Management

  • Follow guidance from local public health authorities and municipalities about the type of activities that are allowed.
  • Train employees on COVID-19 protocols, and update training as required.
  • Consider asking screening questions before workers (and visitors ) enter using a checklist from your local public health authority or have them complete a questionnaire. Record the names and contact information of all workers and visitors who enter to assist with contract tracing by the local public health authority if needed. Make sure that privacy is protected , and that the information is stored in a safe and secure manner.
  • Establish procedures for people who do not pass screening or become ill while at the facility. They should wear a mask (if not already doing so), return home, preferably not by public transit, and call their health care provider or local public health authority for further instruction.
  • Minimize contact during sign-in. Have the supervisor do roll call and sign in for people (or provide separate pens), or have people text their supervisor. Clean any sign-in devices between users.
  • Make sure workers are trained to work safely before performing new tasks.
  • Minimize unnecessary visitors. Conduct meetings virtually and reschedule non-critical maintenance and service calls if possible.
  • Minimize unnecessary visitors. Conduct meetings virtually and reschedule non-critical maintenance and service calls if possible.
  • Communicate corporate information electronically.
  • Hold worker orientations verbally or electronically.
  • Stagger meetings, breaks, team talks, and orientations.
  • Submit all documents electronically, or wash hands after handling papers.
  • Hold in-person meetings outdoors or in large areas that allow for physical distancing.
  • Remove shared cutlery and tableware from breakrooms.
  • Remind staff to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Remove communal outerwear storage areas (i.e., winter footwear, sweaters, coats). Have workers store their personal items in separate lockers or in sealed bins/bags.
  • At the start of their shift, employees should wear freshly cleaned uniforms or clothes. After each shift, their uniform should be bagged and washed. Uniforms should not be worn again until washed.

Venue Practices and Policies

  • Post a notice for workers and visitors not to enter the facility if they may be sick, suspect they may have been exposed, or have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days.
  • Provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol at visitor service areas, entrances and exits, checkouts, and help desks and throughout the venue. Keep dispensers well stocked. Make sure they are accessible for people with disabilities.
  • Remove exhibit elements that can be touched by visitors if they cannot be cleaned easily.
  • Perform a hazard identification and risk assessment of your facilities and services to decide where and how to implement the recommended protection measures.
  • Have a touchless method for payments (e.g., credit or debit cards, mobile phone app) and ticket purchase (online or via smart phone).
  • Use a timed-ticket system (i.e., selling limited tickets to limit occupancy). Instruct visitors to arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before their entry time to avoid creating crowds.
  • Notify workers and visitors in advance if there are changes to policies or practices including reduced hours, or restricted access that will affect their viewing or service experience. Information can be shared online, through advertisements, with notices at the front doors and verbally by workers.
  • Encourage visitors to stay together as a family unit when exploring the exhibits.
  • Limit the number of visitors allowed into the venue at one time. Provide a waiting line area outdoors if it is safe to do so.
  • If the venue has several indoor and outdoor spaces, make sure mask wearing and other requirements are clearly posted at each entrance and exit.
  • Add markers to floors to promote distancing in aisles, line ups, and high traffic exhibits. Consider oneway aisles.
  • Update floor plans with new health and safety information. Add marked paths to promote one-way traffic.
  • Consider having dedicated up and down staircases. Add signs stating the maximum occupancy in small areas (i.e., elevators, washrooms, galleries).
  • Close water fountains, ATMs, lockers, coat check and other services that could spread COVID-19.
  • Shut down rides and other attractions that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between visitors.
  • Clean and disinfect accessibility and other rental equipment between visitors.
  • Consider having staff stationed throughout the venue to remind patrons to properly wear masks, help maintain physical distance, and answer visitor questions.
  • Put high touch, highly interactive visitor displays temporarily out of service or sanitize them between guests.
  • Cancel or reduce capacity for shows, live events, or interactive programs that promote crowds.
  • Take additional precautions by closing live exhibits that allow visitors to have close contact with animals. If possible, opt for outdoor exhibits which allow for a significant distance between the animals and visitors, or indoor exhibits where animals are completely enclosed and separated from the visitors by a physical barrier (e.g., tanks, aquariums). Make sure visitors maintain physical distancing from each other.
  • Consider shortening venue hours or set closure days to allow for deep cleaning.
  • Ensure that ventilation systems for indoor spaces operate properly.
  • Increase introduction and circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods. Do not open windows and doors if doing so creates a safety risk.
  • Powerful portable cooling fans might increase the spread of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces. Use other ways to keep rooms cool, such as adjusting building ventilation systems, and air conditioning units.
  • Ventilation systems should be adjusted to:
    • Increase filtration efficiency to the highest level appropriate for the system.
    • Increase fresh air flow/percentage of outdoor air (increase % of outdoor air in HVAC air supply, open windows and doors, etc.).

Souvenir shops

  • Post signs reminding visitors not to handle items unnecessarily (e.g., touching of toys or souvenirs, playing with novelties).
  • If possible, ask them what they need so a staff member can get the items. Remove bins of products that cannot easily be cleaned (i.e., plush toys). Display those items by placing them on shelves.
  • Remove items or services such as newspapers, flyers, demo and sample items, children’s play area toys, and complimentary food and beverage stations.
  • Limit the amount of stock placed out for sale to minimize contact, if possible. Let visitors know that empty bins or shelves are not necessarily a sign that the product is not available.
  • Extend or add flexibility to return policies and deadlines. Suspend returns or keep returned items in a separate area and disinfect before restocking.
  • If handling cash, follow local health authority guidance. Designate specific checkouts for cash use and encourage washing or sanitizing hands afterwards.

Cafes and Cafeterias

  • Limit seating and remove or stack furniture in a corner or with “do not use” signs for permanent fixtures.
  • Remove self-serve dispensers and avoid offering buffet-style options. Have single use items available behind the counter by request such as cutlery, napkins, and condiments.
  • Encourage the use of credit and debit cards. Sanitize payment keypads and touch screens between each transaction.
  • Consider using vending machines with touchless payment options for delivery of pre-packaged/graband-go food options, with hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes available.

It is important that mental health resources and support are provided to all workers, including access to an employee assistance program, if available.

For further information on COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Note that this guidance is just some of the adjustments organizations can make during a pandemic. Adapt this list by adding your own good practices and policies to meet your organization’s specific needs.

Disclaimer: As public and occupational health and safety information is changing rapidly, local public health authorities should be consulted for specific, regional guidance. This information is not intended to replace medical advice or legislated health and safety obligations. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.

Document last updated November 26, 2020