If the visit is not essential, it is safer to skip it.
If the visit is absolutely necessary, we ask you to review these considerations and do everything possible to reduce the risk of infection to both of you.
COVID-19 is everywhere, so all visitors/guests/renters who have come “from the outside” to SMA should consider the
possibility that they may already be infected and contagious to others. Infected people may not show symptoms for
many days but could still be spreading the infection to others. It is strongly advised that all new arrivals quarantine
themselves for 14 days.
This follows international requirement in place across many other jurisdictions – not only between countries but between states, provinces, cities and even counties – depending on the threat level. It means staying home and avoiding contact with other people – especially people at risk for developing a severe form of COVID-19 — until it is certain they are not
If you need workers in your home on a regular basis, consider that you are forming an alliance with them to help keep each other safe. You’re building a reciprocal, mutually advantageous arrangement based on the shared goal of staying healthy. Advance planning and honest communication are the keys.
For your part, you will be clear about your expectations: your helper will maintain a safe distance from you as much as possible, will always wear a mask while in the house and will wash their hands frequently while they work. You will help by providing a clean mask for them each day they work. If you develop symptoms of the virus, you will tell them, and take additional precautions (see the Home Care Guide).
For their part, they agree to follow your best advice about how to keep themselves safe, which in turn, keeps you safe
and contributes to the safekeeping of the broader community. They will avoid others who are ill, avoid group gatherings
where distancing cannot be maintained, and inform you by phone if they (or anyone around them) develops symptoms
of the virus.
How are you and your family protecting yourselves from the virus?
What do you do at home?
What do you do when you go out shopping?
Does anyone work where they cannot maintain distance, wear a mask, or wash hands?
Do other family or friends come to visit you? What precautions do you take?
How will you travel to my house? Public transit? Taxi? Walk? What precautions?
To achieve this, is important to create a new culture for workers in your home. Foster a relationship that encourages
each of you to be good role models for the other, remind each other of potential lapses, and to keep each other up to
date on news and relevant information.
Plan to provide your helper with clean masks to wear in the house each day. Place masks near the soap and towels at
the sink they will use. Wear a mask yourself when you let your helper in and maintain a safe distance as much as possible.
The Prevention Triad
There are three core elements o COVID-19 prevention
1. maintaining a safe distance
2. frequent handwashing
3. correct mask-wearing.
All three are important. As much as possible, practice all three simultaneously if possible. Exchange just a brief greeting, and immediately direct them to the sink. Ask them to remove their street-mask; they can either put it in a plastic bag to take home to wash or wash it now while they wash their hands with soap and water, and let it dry in the sun.
After they wash, they can put a clean mask on. Then (still at a safe distance) you can exchange pleasantries and discuss
the work to be done.
If your helper’s mask becomes damp while they are working, provide another clean one for them to change to. Remind
them to handle used masks as if they are contaminated, and always wash hands after touching a used mask, and before
putting on a new one.
If your helper’s transportation is risky, you can ask them to wash hands and change to clean clothes when they arrive. Consider ways of enabling safest transportation.
While your helper is in the house, keep the house as well-ventilated as possible. If possible, leave the house while your helper is working. At a minimum, stay out of the area being cleaned or go out on the terrace. If you cannot reliably maintain a safe distance from your helper at all times, you should continue wear a mask.
Ask your helper not to shake bedding, blankets or rugs, because it could spread virus.
Review how to sanitize surfaces according to product instructions – you may need a magnifying glass to read the bottle!
Tell your helper how many minutes the surface must be left wet to achieve effective cleaning. This information may
surprise both you both.
What if I Need Regular (non-COVID) Personal Assistance or Home Health Care?
To protect you from catching COVID-19 when receiving personal care, the most important protection for you is physical
distance from others – at least 6 feet. Imagine you are inside a big sphere, with 6 feet in every direction. If anyone
needs to enter “your sphere” to help you, it is necessary that both of you wear masks. This is true when they are coming
to help you get up, help you bathe, bring you food or provide any other direct (face-to-face) assistance. Both of you
should wash your again hands immediately after any close encounter.
All entries into “your sphere” should be as brief as possible. Interactions are safer when they are short; they are also
less risky when you are in larger rooms, well-ventilated spaces, or even best, outside.
Be sure frequently touched surfaces are sanitized at least daily, using an approved cleaner. This includes tables,
countertops, toilets and sinks, handles and drawer pulls, light switches, doorknobs, phones, assistance devices (canes,
walkers), TV remotes, etc. This is especially important if these surfaces are touched by more than one person during the
If you should become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, there are many excellent suggestions for you and your caregivers in
the Home Care Manual from the COVID-19 SMA group — please read it!
This guide was developed by the COVID-19 Taskforce of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of SMA.