In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design has developed the following information to inform our rental clients of our response to the pandemic, and of new requirements of tenants to help protect everyone at the Branch House from transmission of this disease.

This material will be reviewed and updated as new information comes to light and in response to any action required by local, state, or national authorities.

Rental clients of the Branch are recommended to share this information with all of their potential guests before their event date, particularly any guests who may be considered part of a population deemed vulnerable to COVID-19 by the United States Center for Disease Control.

The Branch House may be subject at any time to restrictions limiting attendance at public and private guidelines issued by local, state, or national authorities.  The Branch will enforce these restrictions as ordered.  Rental clients are encouraged to plan their events with this possibility in mind.

Branch Museum Preventative Measures

The Branch Museum has instituted the following preventative measures, which will continue to be enforced after the Branch Museum opens to the public.

  • Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the building.
  • Waste Receptacles: Step-on, self-closing trash cans have been placed in the restrooms and throughout the building.
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing: 
    • High-touch surfaces throughout the building will be cleaned and sanitized frequently throughout the day.  These surfaces include door handles, railings, elevator buttons, light switches, kitchen and restroom surfaces, and trash can lids.
    • Rented spaces shall be cleaned and sanitized before and after the rental.
  • Signage: Signage has been placed throughout the building advising hand washing procedures and COVID-19 safety recommendations.  Signage has been placed at the entrances advising all visitors of requirements for entering the Branch House.

Staff Safety Procedures

Branch Museum staff will be following these procedures for their safety and for that of tenants and visitors:

  • Daily Personal Health Screening: Branch employees will conduct a daily self screening check to confirm they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.  At the beginning of a work shift, all staff must confirm that they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms by signing a Daily Screening Log.
  • Washing Hands: All staff will wash hands immediately upon entering the workplace.  All staff will wash hands at the beginning and end of their shifts, and after any of the following activities: using the restroom, sneezing, touching the face, cleaning, smoking, eating, drinking, accepting items from a guest (ID, cash, credit card, keycard), taking a break, and as needed throughout the shift.  Staff are encouraged to wash hands.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Employees are encouraged to use hand sanitizer throughout the day.
  • Personal Hygiene: Employees must cover their mouth or nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing; used tissues must be immediately thrown away and employees must wash their hands as soon as possible afterwards.
  • Face Coverings: All staff shall wear face masks or faceshields when entering the building, using or passing through a common area, using a meeting room or rented space, when in a tenant space, or interacting with a visitor, tenant or third party renter.  Each staff member shall debrief their guest for COVID 19 prior to entering the Branch House grounds or touching any Branch House surface, and require their guests to a wear a face mask outside of the staff member’s office.  Employees meeting with guests or tenants in their offices, tenant spaces, or meeting rooms may remove their masks only if all those present grant permission.  Employees sharing office space with a coworker may remove their mask only if the coworkers grants permission.
  • Gloves: All staff shall wear disposable gloves when interacting with visitors or with third party rental guests.
  • Social Distancing: All staff shall practice social distancing standards of maintain a six feet distance between individuals and groups when interacting with tenants, visitors in the Museum Galleries, or with third party rental guests.

Rental Client Requirements

The following safety measures are requirements for any visitors to the Branch Museum, including rental clients and their guests.  Rental clients of the Branch are recommended to share this information with all of their potential guests before their event date, particularly any guests who may be considered part of a population deemed vulnerable to COVID-19 by the United States Center for Disease Control.

Rental clients are responsible for meeting and enforcing these requirements during their event. Clients and guests who fail to comply with requirements will be considered in Default of their Rental Contract.

If a rental client and/or one of their guests has COVID-19 during or immediately after the event, the rental client must report the incident to the Director of Operations immediately.  The Branch Museum will contact Virginia Department of Health officials at Richmond City Health District at (804) 205-3500 and notify them of the incident.  It is the responsibility of rental clients to contact all attendees of the event to inform them of the incident. 

  • The Branch requires the wearing of a face mask for each rental client and each of their guests when entering the building, using or passing through a common area, or using a meeting room or rented space.
  • Rental clients and their guests must comply with social distancing standards.
  • Rental clients and guests are prohibited from entering the Branch House if they are positive for COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.  Each rental client or guest must notify the Branch prior to entering the building or touching any Branch House surfaces if the person has been diagnosed as positive for COVID 19 or if the person is demonstrating symptoms of COVID 19. Thereafter, the rental client and guests must take all necessary safety precautions to prevent the potential spread of COVID 19 to other Branch House users and strictly follow all Branch rules and directives reasonably intended to protect other Branch House users from the spread of COVID 19. 
  • Rental guests are prohibited from entering the Branch House grounds if the guest is currently deemed positive for COVID 19 or demonstrating any systems of COVID 19.  Each rental client is responsible for debriefing their guests for COVID 19 prior to entering the Branch House grounds or touching any Branch House surface.

COVID-19 Exposure Protocol

Visitors and Rental Clients and Guests

Should a visitor be suspected of having COVID-19 or demonstrably exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, they will be asked to leave the Branch House and escorted from the building.  If a visitor is unable to leave, they will be taken to the Special Events office until they are able to depart.  A staff member will remain with the affected visitor during this time.  Staff members will wear masks or faceshields and disposable gloves, and maintain as much distance as possible.

If a visitor is incapacitated and suspected of having COVID-19, the room they are in will be cleared of visitors and non-essential personnel.  EMS services should be contacted by calling 911.  A staff member will remain with the affected visitor until EMS arrives.  Staff members will wear masks or faceshields and disposable gloves, and maintain as much distance as possible.

If a rental client and/or one of their guests has COVID-19 during or immediately after the event, the rental client must report the incident to the Director of Operations immediately.  The Branch Museum will contact Virginia Department of Health officials at Richmond City Health District at (804) 205-3500 and notify them of the incident.  Rental clients should contact all attendees of the event to inform them of the incident. 

The Director of Operations will advise all staff, tenants, and building users of the incident and recommend that they not enter the building for 24 hours afterwards.  Affected areas will be cleaned and sanitized as needed the evening or morning after the infection is suspected, or as soon as possible afterwards.  If necessary for cleaning, museum entrance operations may be moved to the Terrace entrance and tenants and staff advised of the change.

If a staff member, tenant, or visitor has a confirmed case of COVID-19, Virginia Department of Health officials at Richmond City Health District will be notified at (804) 205-3500.