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COVID-19 pandemic: EPA, CDC team on guidance for keeping workplaces clean when reopening

Photo: MarijaRadovic/iStockphoto

Washington — Workplaces, schools and public spaces preparing to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to develop and implement plans to effectively clean and disinfect surfaces, under recently released joint guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

EPA and CDC call on organizations to follow these guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting to help ensure safe reopening:

  • Consider the type of surface and how often it is touched; prioritize disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
  • Perform routine cleaning on areas unoccupied for one week or more and maintain existing cleaning practices for outdoor areas
  • Be mindful of the availability of cleaners, disinfectants and personal protective equipment
  • Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting
  • Use EPA-approved disinfectants that can help prevent and reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 – and always follow directions on the label
  • Maintain safe practices when not cleaning or disinfecting, including washing hands frequently, using cloth face coverings, maintaining physical distancing protocol and staying home when sick

“Proper and effective cleaning and disinfecting are important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an April 29 press release. “As our nation reopens, this guidance is critical to help Americans return as safely as possible to work, school and other daily activities within their communities.”


Within the guidance, EPA and CDC provide additional resources with recommendations for specific facility types, including long-term care, dialysis, and blood and plasma facilities; dental offices; and pharmacies.

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