COVID-19 General “Work Safely, Stay Healthy” Return to Work SOPs

PHASE 4 – November 20th – December 17th

This Operational SOP will be revised and updated as we learn from our “reentry” experience and respond to new information that becomes available. Please check back often!

Until further notice, the Cleveland APL will remain in Phase 4 of the CAPL Re-Entry Dashboard.

Under the Ohio Director of Health’s Updated and Revised Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing, which went into effect on May 29, 2020, many of the mandatory requirements and restrictions that were included in the Ohio’s Stay at Home order were lifted or relaxed. However, there are still requirements with which businesses must comply and recommendations that all Ohioans are STRONGLY encouraged to follow.

Now, with COVID-19 cases on the rise again, Cuyahoga County has issued a Stay at Home Advisory effective immediately through December 17th. While the Advisory does not mandate changes or shutdowns, it strongly advises that residents only leave their homes for work, school or essential needs.

Because of our commitment to providing a healthy and safe workplace to our team, the Cleveland APL will continue to comply with health orders and heed public health recommendations. To date, we have followed a phased approach to rebooting our programs and services and opening our facility to clients and other visitors. Each phase is outlined in our Re-Entry Dashboard. At this time, while we remain at Phase 4, we will make some operational changes to further reduce the risk of exposure while continuing to fulfill our mission. This will mean continuing to finding new and creative ways to deliver programs and services and help the animals and clients who need us in a SAFE and EFFECTIVE manner.

Please see the Shelter Operations / Programs and Services Re-Entry SOP for more details


  • Frequent handwashing is mandatory, and employees should avoid contact with other employees and visitors.
  • Surfaces, public areas, restrooms, etc., will be sanitized between use, between visitors, etc.
  • The APL will provide cleaning supplies, face masks, task-appropriate PPE, and anything else required to adhere to sanitation and social distancing requirements.
  • Face masks must be worn by employees at all times unless alone in an office.
  • Offices are to be sanitized on a daily basis.
  • Employees should avoid sharing phones, keyboards and other office materials. In the event that can’t be avoided, these items must be sanitized immediately after use.
  • No more than 10 employees may gather in a place at a time and only if they can maintain six-foot social distancing. Extra chairs will be removed from meetings rooms, the break room, and workspaces to clearly indicate the required space between bodies.
  • The APL will check theCDC website for updates on how to decontaminate spaces and will update our protocols accordingly.
  • Employees should check the Ohio Department of Health website regularly for the newest guidelines.
  • Team members should report social distancing and sanitation noncompliance to their supervisor.


  • The following services will be by appointment only and delivered at curbside whenever possible:
  • Admissions appointments
  • Revaccinations and wellness check appointments for foster animals
  • Project CARE client appointments
  • Spay/neuter services
  • Adoptions
  • When appointments are scheduled, the APL will inform clients/visitors that they must wear a mask and maintain social distance at all times while on our property, whether inside or outside. Clients/visitors should also be informed that we will ask them the following questions upon arrival and before allowing entry into the building:
    • Do you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as a fever, dry cough, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, sore throat and/or aches and pains?
    • Within the past 14 days, have you had a positive COVID-19 test or been directly exposed to someone who has had a positive test or confirmed to have COVID-19?
  • During Phase 4, a very limited number of visitors/clients will be allowed into the shelter to view adoptable animals, for project CARE and TNR check-in, and for supervised meet and greets with specific animals. However, whenever a client/animal can be helped at curbside, we will do so.
  • An APL team member WITH A RADIO will be assigned to greet visitors at each entrance to ensure compliance. Clients will be required to wear a face covering, which the APL will provide if necessary, and sanitize their hands when entering and departing. A team member will ask the above questions before allowing clients to enter the building. Clients who will not wear a mask, answer yes to any of the questions, or who report a fever will not be permitted to enter the building. Either service will be provided at curbside or their appointment will be rescheduled.
  • Clients will be supervised by a team member at all times with appropriate social distance.
  • Every public area/area entered, or surface or item touched will be disinfected between visitors.
  • There will be signage posted throughout the building communicating mandatory social distancing and face-covering requirements.
  • Donor and visitor tours will be suspended until further notice.

Maximum Room Capacity During Social Distancing

The Cleveland APL will not permit more than 50% of fire code capacity (200) to be in the facility at any time, which is 100 people.

Until further notice, team members must adhere to posted capacity limits for spaces/rooms at the Cleveland APL. Social distancing/PPE must be maintained. Appropriate signage will be posted.

Staff break room                                              3 team members

NOC Room                                                        2 people  (3 people once work on the room is complete)

Adoption desk                                                  2 team members (behind)

Pawtique                                                            2 people

Adoption office                                                 2 team members

Board room                                                       6 people (if room is otherwise empty)

Development kitchen                                      1 person

Community room (without animals)          10 people

Community room (with animals)                 6 people

Humane Ed room                                            2 people

Laundry room                                                  3 people

Clinic/Intake Reception                                 2 team members (and max 2 clients; total 4 people)

Exam rooms                                                      2 people

Medical treatment area                                  10 people

TNR holding room                                           2 people

AWC cat holding room                                    2 people

Surgery rooms                                                  3 team members each

Pack prep space                                                1 team members

Dog recovery                                                      2 team members in each

Veterinarian office                                            2 team members

Clinic supervisor office                                    2 people

X-ray suite                                                         2 people

Dental suite                                                       2 people

Pharmacy                                                          2 team members

Intake (Old APL Clinic)                                  4 people

Project CARE / AWC office (old X-ray room)          2 team members

Foster rooms                                                     1 team member in each

Chief Investigator’s office                               3 people

H.I. work area                                                   3 people

Back staff break room                                     3 people (max two seated at counter)

Flex room                                                          2 people

Workshop                                                          3 people

Loading dock                                                    4 people

Storeroom                                                         5 people

Garage                                                                10 people

SR-7 entrance                                                   2 people

SR-7                                                                    2 team members

Dog holding                                                       2 people on each aisle

Front cat isolation                                            2 team members

Dog adoption                                                     2 people in each aisle

Cat adoption                                                       2 people each side, 2 people front row

Cat playrooms                                                    1 person

Small mammals                                                 1 person (2 if needed for safe animal handling)

Copy/office supply area                                    2 people

All admin offices                                                 1 person, except:

  • CEO and Senior Director of Operations                 3 people each office
  • Senior Director of Development                 2 people
  • Annual Fund Mgr/Donor Relations                 3 people
  • Gift processing                 2 people

(The traffic path around the center cubicles will be clockwise at all times)

NOTE: When more than one person is permitted in an area or room, social distancing MUST be maintained unless being in closer proximity is required for humane and safe animal handling, in response to an emergency, or to perform other essential functions that cannot be carried out with social distancing. When unable to socially distance, proper PPE must be worn


  • Every employee must sign an acknowledgement that s/he has reviewed, understands, and will comply with mandatory social distancing and sanitation protocols. HR will provide the form.
  • All team members must check their temperatures at home. Any person with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher must stay home.  Employees must report their temperature and the presence of any symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19 to their supervisor before beginning to work. Department-specific temperature and symptom logs will be maintained by supervisors and kept in a confidential manner. Employees who report to work with a fever, symptoms, or who refuse to provide this information will be sent home. Any person who develops a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher while at work will be sent home.
  • All team members must wear face coverings and maintain a social distance of six feet from each other AT ALL TIMES unless performing an essential task that doesn’t safely or humanely permit social distancing or alone in an office. Masks should be changed every four hours and washed every day. Employees who fail to do so will face disciplinary action.
  • Employees should avoid sharing phones, keyboards and other office materials. In the event that can’t be avoided, these items must be sanitized immediately after use.
  • Hands must be washed frequently, and employees should avoid contact with other employees.
  • No more than 10 employees may gather in a place at a time and only if they can maintain six- foot social distancing. Extra chairs will be removed from meetings rooms, the break room, and workspaces to clearly indicate the required space between bodies.
  • Until further notice, to reduce the overall number of people in the shelter, employees whose job responsibilities support telework will continue to primarily work from home. Employees who have been working from home but who need or want to work at the APL must have their request / proposed schedule approved by their supervisor to allow for coordination of the number of people in the shelter at any given time.
  • Department heads will reassess volunteer needs in their areas. Volunteers who are comfortable with coming in and are filling critical operational roles will be permitted to do so, as long as they continue to comply with all COVID-19 policies. Volunteer in roles that are important but can be put on hold for the next four weeks will be asked to temporarily suspend their service until further notice.

Business and personal travel

  • Business travel is currently suspended.
  • Personal out-of-state travel is permitted, but not recommended. Per current public health advisories, the Cleveland APL strongly suggests that employees adhere to the following return to work quarantine recommendations after personal, out-of-state travel:

Per Ohio’s current COVID-19 Travel Advisory, those entering Ohio after travel to states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

NOTE: Employees are required to include actual travel dates and destination on “request time off” submissions, for all personal, out-of-state travel.

Employees are required to record testing-positivity rate of the destination state(s) on their departure date and on their date of return to Ohio. The employee’s supervisor will confirm rates prior to the employee’s departure and an employee’s return to the workplace.

(NOTE:  State information also can be found on the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center:

Individual states have a mix of quarantine requirements and recommendations for visitors and residents returning from travels overseas and from other states. Employees considering out-of-state travel should check government websites for their destination and anywhere they plan to stop overnight. 

Employees who fail to comply with the requirements listed above will be subject to corrective action, as described in the Employee Handbook, up to and including termination.