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EPA and CDC Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses and Schools

As part of Opening Up America Again, the U.S. government's plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released joint guidance on April 29, 2020 on cleaning and disinfecting practices for public spaces, workplaces, businesses and schools. The guidance states that some of the practices can also be applied to home settings.

The guidance calls for a three-step process to develop, implement and maintain and revise a Cleaning and Disinfecting Plan. In addition to the guidance, an Infographic Summary of the recommendations is provided.

The EPA and CDC recognize that every individual has a role to play in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 illness through social distancing and good personal hygiene. Further, the EPA and CDC find that the virus can be killed. They recommend a safe and effective cleaning and disinfecting program involving two steps: first, cleaning a surface, and second, disinfecting the surface with the right products. 

On its website, the EPA maintains a list of EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19. Recommendations for hard and non-porous materials like glass, metal or plastics, and for soft or porous material like carpets, rugs or seating are provided.

The EPA and CDC specifically recognize that it is important to also follow any federal, state and local guidance and procedures that may be applicable. For instance, special procedures may be required for manufacturing and commercial facilities subject to Occupational Health and Safety Administration laws, requirements applicable in health care settings such as CDC, or Food and Drug Administration regulations and guidance.

The EPA guidance provides a helpful and comprehensive list of additional resources to access for information regarding health care settings (e.g., long term care, dental, postmortem care), community locations (e.g., critical infrastructure, schools, community and faith-based organizations), and home settings.

If you have questions on this alert, please contact J. Wayne Cropp or one of the members of Baker Donelson's Environmental Group. For more information please visit our website page Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need to Know.

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