Return to Office - DCAS March 2021 Manual

Managing the Return to the Office in the Age of COVID-19, revised March 15, 2021 


This document is a compilation of information from across government and industry. It can be used as a framework for agencies’ consideration as they continue to manage and expand their on-site operations during this time while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This guidance is grounded in the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH or NYC Health Department) key actions for preventing COVID-19 transmission:  Stay home if you are sick. Only leave for essential medical or other essential errands.  Stay apart. Keep at least 6 feet distance from other people.  Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often and carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use while traveling. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and cover your coughs and sneezes.  Wear a face covering. Protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering at all times outside your home. A cloth mask with two or three layers or a cloth mask over a disposable mask is recommended. Face coverings are required in New York State on all public transportation (including car services) and are required by air, train, ferry, and bus carriers.  Get Tested. All New Yorkers should get a COVID-19 virus (diagnostic) test regularly, whether or not they have symptoms or are at increased risk.  Avoid Travel. If you must travel, plan ahead by reading the NYC Health Department’s guidance and taking all recommended precautions. Be prepared to quarantine when you return.  Get Vaccinated. When you are eligible and ready to do so, schedule an appointment at The guidance in this document is divided into four pillars: 1. Prepare the Building: provides guidance on risk mitigation strategies related to building infrastructure and public areas in buildings managed by City agencies. 2. Prepare the Workspace: provides guidance on risk mitigation strategies related to an agency’s physical workspaces, including workplace best practices, physical distancing, occupancy planning, and cleaning. 3. Prepare the Workforce: provides guidance on risk mitigation strategies related to the City’s workforce, including alternative work schedules; face coverings and health screenings requirements; personal hygiene best practices; testing and vaccination recommendations and resources. It also includes COVID-specific personnel policies, accessibility considerations, and employee support resources. 4. Communication: provides guidance on establishing and maintaining centralized, two-way, multichannel communications with the staff and the public.

This guidance was prepared by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the NYC Health Department, New York City Office of Labor Relations (OLR), and the New York City Law Department. Recommendations are advisory and should be used for planning purposes only; agencies are encouraged to make their own decisions based on their unique workspaces and workforces. Please be advised that the information contained herein represents current guidance as of the date of release, and agencies should reference the primary resources included throughout this document when establishing their policies and protocols