Safer Federal Workplace - Federally Owned Building Management
GSA is following all CDC considerations and recommendations for building operations. Additionally, GSA has modified its custodial contracts and cleaning and disinfection procedures [PDF - 69 KB] for federal buildings to require disinfection using either EPA-registered disinfectants. GSA will continue to perform cleaning and disinfection as part of the daily custodial services in all GSA-controlled and -operated federal buildings in accordance with recommended CDC guidance.
Enhanced Entry Screening Services Guidance
- Access Restriction Authority and Process: Occupant agencies in GSA-controlled facilities may close or restrict access to the public to provide for the orderly conduct of government business. To implement enhanced entry screening procedures at a GSA-controlled facility, the building’s Facility Security Committee (FSC) must convene, consult with the GSA facility manager and the highest ranking representative of the law enforcement organization responsible for protecting the property or the area -- which for GSA-controlled facilities is either the Federal Protective Service (FPS) or the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) -- and vote to adopt the enhanced entry screening procedures.
- Procuring Screening Services: If the FSC votes to implement enhanced entry screening procedures at a multi-occupant, GSA-controlled facility, the occupant agencies are responsible for providing the funding based on their pro rata share of rentable square footage in the facility. In these cases, the occupant agencies must provide PBS with a reimbursable work authorization (“RWA”) for their pro rata share of the estimated cost before GSA can award the contract for enhanced entry screening services.
- Compliance and Enforcement: FPS will assist in the enforcement of partial building closures (i.e., restrict access to certain individuals).
- CDC Signage: GSA personnel are regularly monitoring disease transmission levels via the CDC COVID Data Tracker. Facility Managers are engaging with the Facility Security Committee and posting appropriate mask-wearing and/or other relevant COVID-19 signage for building occupants, contractors, and visitors in response to local COVID-19 transmission levels and in accordance with current CDC guidance. If a facility is in an area of high or substantial transmission of the COVID-19 virus, or if the local area requires masks, engage with the Facility Security Committee (FSC) and post signs indicating masks are required [PDF - 6 MB] for all persons wishing to access and while in the facility, and ensure the entry signage is also posted at the building exterior entrances. If the facility is not located in one of those high or substantial transmission areas, signage should be posted that “fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask in public indoor settings unless required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.” Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear masks and physically distance themselves.
- If the facility’s local area transmission status changes to high or substantial later on, or if the locality implements a mask requirement, building signs will be posted indicating masks are required [PDF - 6 MB] for all persons accessing the facility and in the common areas and shared workspaces. Also, entry signage will be posted at the building entrances, if it is not already posted. GSA Facility Managers will reach out to the Facility Security Committee (FSC) or equivalent networks to inform occupant agencies of this change, and also make this signage available for occupant agency use within their occupied areas. The GSA Facility Manager will inform the FSC that neither GSA nor the Department of Homeland Security - Federal Protective Service [PDF - 127 KB] will ask people for their vaccination status when entering a GSA-controlled building. Individuals will determine their own vaccination status and follow the appropriate mask and social distancing requirements associated with their particular status and with the current local transmission status of COVID-19 infections before accessing a GSA-controlled building
- The occupant agency is responsible for posting any necessary signage at the entrance to its occupied area, including the building entrances, if it is the sole occupant of the entire facility. In GSA-controlled delegated facilities, the occupant agency responsible for operation and maintenance is responsible for obtaining and displaying all necessary signage.
- Additional Signage: Occupant agencies are responsible for posting any additional signage in their immediate work areas. GSA is providing print-ready signage PDFs for tenant interior spaces in the workspace section. They must coordinate with the building’s Designated Official (DO), FSC, and facility manager, if proposing to post any signage in the building’s entrances or common areas. Signage may be ordered from signage vendors on the Multiple Awards Schedules.
- CDC recommendations: GSA is following the CDC’s COVID-related guidance, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) recommendations and reopening after prolonged shutdown recommendations. The CDC recommends improving the engineering controls for the building ventilation system, which may include the following activities:
- Increasing ventilation rates.
- Confirming ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for each space’s current occupancy level.
- Increasing outdoor air ventilation and using caution in highly polluted areas. With fewer people in the building, these measures increase the effective dilution ventilation per person.
- Opening outdoor air dampers as feasible, considering outdoor weather conditions.
- Improving central air filtration to MERV-13 or the highest compatible with the filter rack, and sealing edges of the filter to limit bypass.
- Keeping systems running longer hours if possible, to increase air exchanges.
- GSA HVAC activities: In GSA-operated buildings, CDC HVAC recommendations will be incorporated based on existing equipment, current configuration, and reoccupancy schedule, including disabling demand-control ventilation, increasing operating hours, increasing use of outside air, ensuring air filters are properly sealed, and upgrading air handler filtration efficiency.
GSA is documenting the specific actions taken and planned for each government-owned, non-delegated building and will share with the occupant agencies. The information will be shared with agency points of contact and will cover HVAC systems, air filtration and plumbing systems.
Face Mask Guidance
- Face Masks: Consistent with current guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in accordance with the direction provided in Executive Order 13991, issued January 20, 2021, entitled Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, all federal employees and contractors must wear masks in federally owned facilities under GSA’s jurisdiction, custody, or control (each, a “GSA-controlled facility”) that are located in areas of substantial or high community transmission and in areas where mask-wearing is required by the local jurisdiction, regardless of vaccination status.
- Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask in federally owned facilities under GSA’s jurisdiction, custody or control, regardless of community transmission level. In areas of low or moderate transmission, in most settings, fully vaccinated people generally do not need to wear a mask or physically distance in federal facilities or on federal land, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, or regulations. Fully vaccinated individuals however, may choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission.
All GSA-controlled facilities, except for Primary Courthouses and facilities occupied solely by congressional offices are considered to be substantially occupied by executive branch employees or contractors for purposes of this guidance. A Primary Courthouse is a courthouse where the judiciary and judiciary-related offices (i.e., the U.S. Marshals Service or the U.S. Attorney, or both) occupy 75% or more of the rentable square footage in the facility. For purposes of this guidance, GSA-controlled facilities do not include outleased spaces or facilities.
In Primary Courthouses and facilities solely occupied by congressional offices, the Chief Judge or the Member of Congress, as applicable, must establish the policy to adopt the CDC recommendations or more restrictive measures, or the Facility Security Committee (FSC) must vote to adopt such measures, if an FSC for that facility has been established.
Cleaning and Disinfection Guidance
- Hand Sanitizer: In early March, GSA procured and made available alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS) in all GSA-controlled and operated federal buildings. The products and dispensers are located in common areas and entrances. GSA will continue to provide hand sanitizer for the foreseeable future. GSA is making sanitizer products, disinfectant wipes, and similar products available to GSA employees in GSA work areas. Occupant agencies are responsible for funding, procuring, and making available sanitizer products, disinfectant wipes, and similar products for their employees and visitors to use within their work areas. Written approval from GSA is required to store ABHS in quantities of 10 gallons or more for all GSA owned and delegated facilities.
- Disinfecting: CDC recommends disinfecting agency-owned personal property such as desks, workstations, computer accessories, and phones. Agencies are responsible for procuring and providing services and/or products to clean and disinfect these items as desired. This service is also available from GSA on a reimbursable basis, upon request. You can find GSA resources to help you procure disinfecting supplies at www.gsa.gov/coronavirus.
- Procuring cleaning products: Occupant agencies are responsible for funding, procuring, and making available sanitizer products, disinfectant wipes and similar products for use by their employees and visitors to use. Products for disaster relief and pandemic protection are available through GSA Advantage!
- Cleaning Cost Responsibility: GSA’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page has more information on the cleaning services GSA is financially responsible for.
- Cleaning Standards: GSA has modified the existing cleaning contracts for federally owned buildings to include disinfecting requirements for high contact surfaces in common and high traffic areas as part of routine cleaning.
Cleaning staff must wipe down all solid, high contact surfaces in building common areas (defined as those areas used or accessed by the government’s employees and visitors) at least daily. They must use a disinfectant from the EPA-registered list of products identified as effective against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, or other products containing the same active ingredient(s) at the same or greater concentration than those on the list. Cleaning staff must use products according to the manufacturer's directions. Cleaning staff must wear disposable gloves (e.g., latex, nitrile, etc.), facemasks, and any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) that the cleaning and disinfectant product manufacturers recommend and choose disinfection applications and products that won’t damage interior finishes or furnishings.
Examples of solid, high contact surfaces in building common and high traffic areas include, but are not limited to, handrails, door knobs, key card scan pads, light switches, countertops, table tops, water faucets and handles, elevator buttons, sinks, toilets and control handles, restroom stall handles, toilet paper and other paper dispensers, door handles and push plates, water cooler and drinking fountain controls.
It does not include agency-owned equipment such as desks, telephones, computers, keyboards, docking stations, computer power supplies, and computer mouse, personal fans and heaters, desk lighting, etc.
Guidance for Confirmed or Suspected Cases
When an occupant organization at a GSA-owned facility becomes aware of a COVID-19 incident involving an employee, contractor or visitor of that organization, the organization must immediately notify all of its staff, contract employees and the GSA Facility Manager. The organization must also notify the Designated Official (“DO”) and the Facility Security Committee (“FSC”) for the facility. Furthermore, the building occupants must notify their visitors that, if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of the visit, the visitor must notify the building occupant. Notification is required to vacate building occupants from potentially infected areas, including the impacted individual's immediate workspace, and to restrict access to those areas to the extent the areas can be restricted without compromising the means of egress in the event of an emergency to protect other building occupants, and to ensure complete cleaning and disinfection of all affected portions of the building. Notifications to POCs for building occupants, contractors, DO and FSC, must be as soon as possible, but not later than 24 hours after the incident was first reported to GSA. When an occupant agency notifies GSA of a COVID-19 incident, they must not send any PII, such as the affected individual’s name, symptoms, COVID-19 status, or any other data that is likely to identify a particular person. The CDC has additional guidance for sick employees including: train staff to self-monitor for symptoms, isolate the individual from others and provide face coverings while in the building, prepare the sick employee for safe travel home, and seek immediate care for someone severely sick.