Issued 12/22/20

MaskUpenn link added 2/10/21


The Penn community need to eat and during the workday and one must be unmasked while consuming food and drink.  Unfortunately, being unmasked indoors poses the greatest risk of SARS CoV-2 transmission.  EHRS provides these best practices to ensure that the Penn community can take nourishment while at work and safely use conference and other shared rooms. 


Indoor Eating Locations 

  • Only eat in areas designated by your school or center.   

  • Designated break areas should, where feasible, be separated from work areas with floor to ceiling walls.  Conference rooms, private offices and break rooms are ideal locations for eating areas.  Conference rooms should be available because all in-person meeting are not permitted.  Avoid using open offices or public hallways for eating or drinking.

  • Managers should determine the ventilation rate and filter efficiency for the locations before using them as eating areas.  (Contact your building administrator).  Consider adding a HEPA room filtration unit in areas with less than 6 AC/H.

  • Maintain a minimum of 8 feet distance - 10-foot distance preferred - from others while unmasked.  Six-foot distance is a minimum when all people are masked.   

  • Approved seating locations should be labeled.  Seating should be distributed so that employees do not face each other.  The maximum occupancy should be posted on the door to the eating area.  Do not move chairs or tables. 

  • Minimize the time you are unmasked.  Eat quickly, re-mask and leave the eating area.  Do not read, work on a computer or engage in conversations while unmasked. 

  • Sanitize the table and other contact areas both before and after use.  Disinfect any surfaces you contact during use (i.e., doors, sink faucet, microwave buttons).  Use the disinfectant wipe to open the door and disinfect the handle as you leave. 

  • Post MaskUpenn in all eating locations.

Use of Conference Rooms 

In-person meetings are not permitted by the Orders from the Mayor of Philadelphia at this time.  Conference rooms should not be used for staff meeting or congregant attendance of webinars. 

Employees may work alone in conference rooms. Employees should remain masked while working in a conference room unless the conference room is dedicated for their sole use and a minimum of 90 minutes is permitted between users to allow the HVAC system to remove contaminants from the air (see table).    

Sanitize the work surface, phone, and the conference room door handles after use. 


* Airborne Contaminant Removal