COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Northstar Fashion Exhibitors
Northstar Fashion Exhibitors (“Northstar”) is committed to providing a safe and healthy event space for all our staff, vendors, contractors, and market attendees. To ensure we have a safe and healthy market, Northstar has developed the following COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Northstar management and staff are all responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our workplace, at our market, and in our community. Only through a cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of all persons in our workplace and at our market.
The COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is administered by Northstar’s Director of Operations, who maintains the overall authority and responsibility for the plan. However, management and staff are equally responsible for supporting, implementing, complying with and providing recommendations to further improve all aspects of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Northstar’s managers have full support in enforcing the provisions of this plan. Individuals not complying with safety protocols may be subject to removal from the market.
Northstar is serious about safety and health and protecting our staff and attendees. Staff involvement is essential in developing and implementing a successful COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. We have involved our staff in this process by holding regular meetings with Northstar and contracted employees to discuss the current Stay Safe MN guidelines, inviting staff to participate in suggestions that would enhance the plan.
Northstar’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows the Guidance for Safe Celebrations and Events developed by the state of Minnesota, available at the Stay Safe Minnesota website (https://staysafe.mn.gov), which is based upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines for COVID-19, Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) statutes, rules and standards, and Minnesota’s relevant and current executive orders.
Integration of Contractors’ and Partners’ Plans
Northstar works with contractors and partners in developing, running, and providing specific services of its markets. Each of those parties has provided a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Northstar has reviewed each of those plans and finds them adequate to Northstar’s expectations. Further, Northstar integrates such plans—in whole—as part of its plan.
Where management, oversight, or auditing of such third parties services is required, Northstar staff will conduct such actions (as deemed necessary) to ensure conformity with such plans developed by its contractors and partners.
Copies of such plans will be made available to anyone so interested either (1) upon direct request made to Northstar’s Director of Operations or (2) available as a copy to be reviewed at the Registration Desk during the market.
Those organizations whose plans have specifically been reviewed, and are so integrated by reference, include:
- The RiverCenter;
- MHC Culinary Group
- Best Meetings; and
- Chrom Expo Services
Any other contractor or partner not herein noted will have their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan available at the Registration Desk during the market.
Northstar staff have been trained on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and have been encouraged to self-monitor. The following policies and procedures are being implemented to assess staff members’ health status prior to entering the venue. Prior to entering the venue, staff must:
- Self-check for symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature check
- Notify Northstar management immediately of any symptoms of COVID-19
- Staff should stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19
- Northstar will require on-site temperature checks for all staff prior to entering the venue
- Should staff begin to experience symptoms during their time in the venue, they have been instructed to notify management and return home immediately
- If staff cannot return home immediately and must remain at the venue, they have been instructed to isolate in the Show Manager’s Office
Northstar has implemented leave policies that promote workers staying at home when they are sick, when household members are sick, or when required by a health care provider to isolate or quarantine themselves or a member of their household. Northstar offers paid sick leave and job protection should a staff member, or member of his or her household become infected with COVID-19. Alternative work arrangements will be made for staff with underlying medical conditions or who have household members with underlying health conditions.
Screening Prior to Entering the Market
Prior to entering the market, Northstar will conduct temperature checks of every market attendee. This will be done as a service to market attendees. Any person presenting with a temperature above 99.6 will be notified and advised to consider whether their symptoms (and any additional symptoms that the person may be presenting with) could be COVID-19 related.
Northstar makes no representation that it or its staff have any medical training, and further warrants that it cannot make assertions of whether a person has COVID-19. Any temperature check completed of a market attendee is purely for the benefit of the attendee.
Social distancing of at least six feet will be implemented and maintained between staff and market attendees at all times through the following physical and administrative controls:
1. Pre-registration Required
Retail buyers will be required to register online prior to the market, to minimize time spent at the Registration Desk and to ensure capacity limits can be met at all times. New stores will have the option of submitting required documentation electronically.
2. Appointments Encouraged
Retail buyers are encouraged to set appointments with exhibitors prior to arriving at the market.
3. Monitoring of Occupancy
No more than 150 retail buyers will be allowed inside the RiverCentre at one time. Occupancy will be monitored by event staff stationed at the entrances.
4. Signs Posted
Social distancing signage and floor markings will be placed throughout the venue so that staff and attendees can maintain appropriate distance of at least six feet from others at all times. These signs will be located throughout the exhibition halls and in areas such as entrances, exits, loading docks, restrooms, elevators, and concourses.
5. Hall Layout Modification
The following modifications have been made to the venue to ensure that social distancing can be maintained at all times:
- Exterior entrances and exits will be marked to indicate one-way traffic flow;
- Elevator and escalator signage will indicate maximum capacities encouraging six feet of distancing and giving priority to guests with impaired mobility;
- Predetermined out-of-service sinks and urinals will be marked to encourage physical distancing;
- Acrylic shields are installed in locations where physical distancing may not be able to be maintained;
- Expedited registration will be available, with two lines separated by six feet, in addition to markings to keep attendees spaced out by six feet;
- The width of aisles throughout the exhibition halls will be increased from 10 feet to 14 feet;
- Aisles throughout the exhibition hall will be one-way;
- Eight foot high dividers will be placed between exhibitor spaces;
- Elevator capacity limits will be posted on all elevator doors; and
- Seating near refreshment area(s) will be designed to ensure that social distancing is maintained while eating and drinking.
Face coverings are required at all times for all market attendees. Per Executive Order 20-81, as of July 25, 2020, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face covering in all businesses and public indoor spaces. The Executive Order includes exemptions for people who are unable to wear or tolerate a face covering due to medical conditions, mental health conditions, or other reasons. Face coverings may be temporarily removed when eating or drinking, if social distancing is maintained between members of different parties and the face covering is put back on when not eating or drinking.
Face masks and a limited number of face shields will be available at the Registration Desk.
Staff are required to wash hands on arrival and frequently thereafter; attendees will be encouraged to do the same through the use of signage and announcements made using the venue’s PA system.
Temperature screening for attendees will be offered upon arrival to the venue (as outlined above).
Contactless hand sanitizer stations—with at least 60% alcohol—will be located throughout the venue, including key locations such as near main entrance vestibules; in concourses and lobbies; near entrances to events; by elevators; and near all food service locations.
Most restrooms are equipped with automated sinks, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, as well as toilets and/or urinals.
Signage will be posted to encourage personal hygiene habits, such as:
- Washing and/or sanitizing hands frequently
- Covering mouth and nose with sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching of the face—in particular mouth, nose, and eyes—with hands
- Disposing of tissues in provided trash receptacles and washing or sanitizing hands immediately afterward
Venue Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
The RiverCentre’s HVAC filtration systems have been upgraded to MERV-13 air filters.
All HVAC systems run at full economizer levels as outside air conditions allow.
Relative humidity levels of RH 40–60% are maintained.
HVAC systems have extended operating time to enhance the ability to filter air contaminants.
A flush cycle added to the HVAC system controls operates the system two hours before and after occupancy.
HVAC system is checked and rebalanced to provide negative air pressure whenever possible.
HVAC fan speeds are managed to minimize air flow circulation across groups of people.
Venue Cleaning and Sanitizing
Northstar’s partner (and host venue) for the market, The RiverCentre, has purchased appropriate and effective cleaning and disinfecting supplies which are available for use in accordance with product labels, safety data sheets and manufacturer specifications, and are being used with required personal protective equipment for the product.
Northstar’s contractors and partners have represented to Northstar the following:
- The RiverCentre cleans and disinfects with the following EPA-approved disinfectants: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Oxivir Tb Wipes (Diversey), Oxivir Tb Sanitizer Spray (Diversey), Renown Foam Disinfectant Cleaner, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, Diversey Alpha-HP Multi-Surface Cleaner (closet dispensers), Diversey Morning Mist Disinfectant (closet dispensers), Diversey Raindance Neutral Floor Cleaner (closet dispensers), Ecolab Sure-Pak Neutral Floor Cleaner.
- Shared facility operational equipment is kept to a limited number of users and is cleaned and sanitized after every use.
- All hand sanitizer used in the venue will be at least 60% alcohol for ethanol (ethyl) based hand sanitizers per CDC guidelines.
- Contactless hand sanitizer dispensers are placed in key locations throughout the facility, including near all main entrance vestibules in concourses and lobbies, outside meeting rooms and ballrooms, near entrances to events, by elevators, and near all food service locations.
- Any employees of contractors and partners using gloves are required to change them regularly to avoid contamination.
- Any employees of contractors and partners are encouraged to wash and sanitize hands frequently.
- Public areas and high touch point areas of the RiverCentre are (and will continue to be) cleaned and sanitized on an ongoing and frequent basis. Public areas include, but are not limited to, entrances/exits, lobbies, skyway, concourses, elevators, stairwells, escalators, restrooms and nursing mother’s rooms. High touch point areas within the RiverCentre include, but are not limited to: door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, trash and recycling receptacles, reception desks, circulation furniture, tables and chairs, house telephones and vending machines.
- RiverCentre shall use Clorox Total 360 System Electrostatic Sprayers for multiple surfaces including hard-to-reach places—including the side, underside and backside of surfaces and furnishings.
- RiverCentre shall use NanoSeptic self-cleaning adhesive skins to continuously eliminate bacteria, and it will be placed on high touch door handles and elevator buttons.
- Wherever possible, RiverCentre shall lock or close off spaces after cleaning until designated next use to prevent recontamination.
- Booth sanitation remains the responsibility of individual exhibitors, however exhibitors will be provided with hard surface chairs and encouraged to use hard surface table coverings so that these items can be more easily disinfected.
Northstar utilizes the services of MHC Culinary Group for all on-site food and beverage services. MHC employees are to abide by the guidance of the company’s own COVID-19 safety and disinfection protocols, which can be found at rivercentre.org/assets/doc/RC_Covid_BroadDocument-81d27d636e.pdf
There will be no self-service of food or beverage at the market. Food and beverages will be served to attendees by MHC staff utilizing the appropriate PPE.
Communication and Training
Northstar has reviewed and incorporated the industry guidance applicable to our business provided by the state of Minnesota for the development of this plan. This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan was communicated to all Northstar staff in a meeting on January 8th, 2021. Additional communication and training with employees, partners, and contracted workers will be ongoing prior to the market.
Signage outlining this plan will be displayed throughout the venue for staff, contracted employees, and attendees beginning on January 23rd, 2021 and at each market thereafter. Signage will include guidance on social distancing, required hygiene practices, signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and mandatory face coverings. Staff and attendees will be advised not to enter the venue if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; this will be communicated via signage at the venue entrance as well as through written communication prior to the event. Northstar managers are in close contact with the Minnesota Department of Health and will closely monitor operations. Additionally, Northstar managers will update the plan and signage as necessary to remain in compliance with any new federal, state, or local laws and guidance.
This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan has been certified by Michelle Sung, Project Manager and Stephanie Siegel, Director of Operations and is available for review on Northstar’s website, or at the Registration Desk during the market.
Director of Operations
Appendix A – Documents referenced in Northstar’s development of its COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
Government Entities – General Guidance
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Coronavirus (COVID-19) – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH): Coronavirus – www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus
State of Minnesota: COVID-19 response – https://mn.gov/covid19
Guidance for Businesses
CDC: Resources for businesses and employers – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html
CDC: General business frequently asked questions – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html
CDC: Building/business ventilation – www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
MDH: Businesses and employers: COVID-19 – www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/businesses.html
MDH: Health screening checklist – www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facilityhlthscreen.pdf
MDH: Materials for businesses and employers – www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/materials
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED): COVID-19 information and resources – https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI): Updates related to COVID-19 – www.dli.mn.gov/updates
Federal OSHA – www.osha.gov
MDH: Handwashing video translated into multiple languages – www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdQuPGVcceg
Respiratory etiquette: Cover your cough or sneeze
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
Employees exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19
State of Minnesota: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/if-sick/get-tested/index.jsp
Federal OSHA: www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf