After closing our building from March 25th through May 26th during the Wisconsin and Dane County Safer at Home orders, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection reopened for onsite services on Wednesday, May 27th. Though Neighborhood Connection fit the criteria of an “essential business” and could have remained fully open during #saferathome, we made the decision to modify our programs and services to protect the health and safety of our donors, clients, volunteers, and staff. However, our services including case management, supplies from our free store, resource referrals, and financial assistance continued uninterrupted to more than 170 area households.
In developing our reopening plan, we have used recommendations in the Reopening Guidelines published by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Cushman & Wakefield’s Workplace Readiness Essentials.
General guidelines in place throughout these phases include the following:
- Staff, volunteers, clients, and donors over age 60 and those who are medically vulnerable should continue to stay home, thus will be encouraged to continue to stay home and not come in.
- We have implemented the following procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19
– Social distancing practices will be used throughout the office and store.
– Staff members, volunteers, clients, and donors who have been exposed in the past 14 days or are sick should not come to the building.
– Frequent handwashing and/or use of hand sanitizer is required.
– We will provide masks and gloves for those who need them.
– Cleaning supplies and disposable utensils and cups for the kitchenette will be provided.
– Everyone will be required to wear a face mask when in the building. The only exception is for staff when they are working in their private office and no one else is near them.
– Frequently touched surfaces including door handles, desks/counters, phones, light switches, faucets, kitchenette, coffee bar, and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
- Instructions on the proper use of face masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies will be provided.
- Staff members, volunteers, and clients who enter and leave the building will sign in and out in case this information is needed for contact tracing.
Phase One (May 27th – TBA)
- We will be open for donations Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.
- Donors should place their items in the purple bins in the lobby. Ideally, only one donor should be in the area at a time. Others will be asked to wait outside for their turn.
- Upon being filled, we will place a sign in the acrylic holder on the bin indicating the day it was filled and move the bin to a storage room where it will sit for at least 72 hours before being moved to the sorting room for processing.
- During open hours, the inside foyer door will be set to the “open” position to minimize contact with the door handle.
- Our team will work in the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; they may continue to work at home on Tuesday and Thursday.
- Any meetings with groups larger than 10 people, or fewer if there is no space that will allow for social distancing, will be held online.
- All volunteers must register for shifts online.
- We are limiting the number of volunteers allowed in the building at any one time to five – one in each of the following areas: welcome desk, sorting room, store, back office, and storage room (downstairs). Note: If family members live together, they can volunteer together in the same area.
- Only three volunteers will be scheduled to work during shopping times: one for registration, one for the Corner Store, and one for checkout.
- Clients who are older than 60, medically vulnerable, ill, or who have been exposed in the last 14 days can continue to request items for pick-up or delivery rather than coming in to shop.
- Any client who is not feeling well should remain at home and can request items be delivered to them.
- Shopping hours have been extended by one hour to better allow for social distancing. Daytime shopping will be from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM, evening from 4:00-7:00 PM.
- Client families are asked to send only one family member for shopping, if possible. We realize there may be times when more than one family member needs to look for clothing or other items that only they can select, but we will encourage the families to keep the number low.
- Only five clients will be allowed in the store at one time and only one person should be in each shopping room at one time. Those waiting outside can remain in their cars or stand in a line on the front walk staying at least six feet apart.
- To facilitate social distancing, clients will be asked to come to shopping days in June based on the first letter of their last name: A-E 10:00 AM/4:00 PM; F-J 10:30 AM/4:30 PM; K-N 11:00 AM/5:00 PM; O-R 11:30 AM/5:30 PM; S-V 12:00 PM/6:00 PM; W-Z 12:30 PM/6:30 PM. If these times don’t work for a client, s/he can request a different time from Stacey.
- Any client who cannot make it during a designated shopping time may contact Neighborhood Connection to make an appointment for a day/time that works for their schedule.
- Clients will be required to use hand sanitizer upon registration, before starting shopping.
- If a client touches an item for an extended period or tries on a piece of clothing or an accessory, it should be placed in a designated bin and will not be placed back out on the floor for 72 hours.
If Someone Who Has Been in the Building Becomes Sick
If a staff member, volunteer, client, or donor who has been in the building is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, the following procedures will be followed:
- The impacted individual will have to remain at home until they meet the requirements to discontinue home isolation per CDC recommendations and/or the guidance of their health care provider.
- We will close off any areas that were used by for a prolonged period of time by the individual. After 24 hours, the area will be cleaned and disinfected. Surfaces will be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfecting. The individual(s) cleaning the area will wear gloves and a face mask.
- We will notify others who may have come in contact with the person of their possible exposure, but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Those who may have had contact with the person who do not have symptoms should remain at home and practice social distancing for 14 days.
- We will provide all necessary information to the county public health department for contact tracing, as required.
- We will evaluate staffing and open hours should an illness or exposure leave us too short-handed to remain open.
* * *
All of these procedures will be monitored, evaluated, and updated as guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and state/county public health departments are modified.