COVID Safety at The Mill

Looking for the required safety orientation?

The Mill is proud to be a leader in COVID safety! As a center for entrepreneurship and coworking, The Mill is meant to bring people together. Our 200+ members share many common areas, and guests are frequent. We love the possibilities generated by connection and contact. In the age of coronavirus, those possibilities become vulnerabilities. Our COVID protocols were designed to minimize health risks and developed using member input on their top concerns; research on how coronavirus is transmitted and ways to reduce risk; feedback from Cook Executives on our draft plans and safety features; advice from HVAC professionals; staff input; and more.

If you’re visiting The Mill as a guest, please sign this required waiver for guests.

If you’ve just become a member of The Mill, please complete this member orientation.

COVID Safety Protocols

The Mill’s safety protocols apply to everyone in the building: staff, members, guests, vendors, no exceptions. We periodically re-evaluate which protocols to continue, adapt, or discontinue.

  1. The Mill reopened after spring shutdown in slow phases to gradually increase the number of people inside the building. Currently we are open 24/7, at 100% of capacity. Some event restrictions still apply.
  2. Before entering the building, all members and guests must first complete a safety orientation.
  3. Staff monitor the electronic signatures against the log of who has used their digital key to ensure all who enter have completed the orientation.
  4. Masks are required on entry and everywhere throughout The Mill (the only exceptions are while working at one’s desk, while alone in a call or conference room, or when sitting 6 feet apart in a private office).
  5. Six feet distance is to be observed at all times.
  6. No shared food is allowed; members bring their own food, drinks, utensils, etc.
  7. Members are encouraged to self-monitor their temperature and to stay home if sick. The Mill has a thermometer available when needed.
  8. Violations of safety protocols are tracked, and those with repeated incidents will be asked, with kindness, to stay home until the protocols are lifted.
  9. The Mill has developed, with the help of our friends at Cook, a protocol for what to do should someone think they are developing COVID symptoms while at The Mill.
Building and Space Adaptations for COVID Safety

The Mill’s building improvements aim to reduce pathogens and to make it easy to observe social distancing and safety protocols.

  1. Doors locked for digital key access only to control building capacity & public traffic
  2. Sanitizing stations at all entry points
  3. Self-sanitizing caddies distributed throughout the building for easy access
  4. Extra masks available at the door
  5. Sterilizing UV lights installed in the HVAC system to clean airflow of viruses
  6. Clear partitions added as a barrier between workspaces & highly trafficked areas
  7. Clockwise, one-way traffic patterns marked on the floor (per hospital protocols), with arrows spaced 6 feet apart to show proper social distancing
  8. In narrow spaces with two-way traffic, to preserve six-foot distancing, custom floor stickers direct people to yield to opposing traffic; domed mirrors show if anyone is coming from around corners
  9. Cubicles (in the Ostrom Room) have post-it flags to indicate “occupied”—thus reducing traffic by members looking for an open workspace
  10. Multi-stall bathrooms limited to single occupancy (UPDATE: Bathrooms returned to full occupancy as of July 1.)
  11. Bathroom faucets replaced with touchless faucets 
  12. Hand dryers disabled to eliminate air-blown pathogens
  13. Lids installed on toilets to prevent fecal-oral transmission
  14. Shower usage disallowed
  15. Conference room capacities reduced to ensure 6 feet social distance
  16. Desks, workspaces, dining tables, & outdoor tables spaced 6 feet apart
  17. Extra chairs removed for easy compliance with new, lower room & table capacities
  18. All shared kitchen items (utensils, plates, cups etc.) packed up
  19. Open shelving papered over to reduce temptation to unpack common items
  20. Extra microwave & toaster purchased and spaced 6 feet apart to increase access while maintaining distance
  21. Step-to-open trash can instead of lidded cans that become common touch points
  22. Extra furnishings removed & stored to reduce temptation to sit in close contact or to pull chairs together
  23. The podcast studio has clear partitions to protect interviewees and hosts. Two UV light boxes disinfect microphones after each session.
  24. The mother’s room now designated as Symptom Assessment Room, for use in critical situations when someone starts to experience COVID-type symptoms while at The Mill
Communications for COVID Safety
Plans and protocols mean nothing if they are not shared. While we try to make it easy to comply through physical modifications, messaging is important, too. Knowing what to expect allows our members and guests to make informed decisions and builds a shared understanding. It also allows us to frame safety as something we approach with intention, positivity, and respect.

  1. All building improvements and protocols are communicated multiple times, via multiple formats, including:
    • Social media posts
    • Emails
    • Signage and posters throughout the building, including signage on doors before you enter
  2. Our motto for coronavirus is “One for all, and all for one”; safety works best with the support of our entire Mill culture. Communications share that motto and emphasize that everyone in the building must follow the protocols, for the benefit of the community as a whole. We want to everyone to feel comfortable asking for a little more distance, if needed.
  3. Communications respect members’ choices. If someone doesn’t want to wear a mask, we understand that, and when the protocols are lifted, we will happily welcome them back to The Mill.
  4. Communications build the expectation that we will be monitoring safety—we don’t anyone to be surprised later, and we want members to know that we listened to their concerns (in our survey, a top concern members shared was that other people wouldn’t comply). We have to own our role as leaders of The Mill’s community. Emails tell members to expect periodic “Safety Checks!”
  5. Mill staff have discussed how we will handle difficult conversations about safety—it’s one thing to say we’ll monitor safety, another thing to actually do it. Our conclusion is that “Safety Check!” is something we’ll do regularly not just to correct protocol violations, but to recognize when we’re doing it right. The goal of checking safety is not to punish or lecture. It’s simply to make sure we’re doing all we can.
  6. Posters with “Safety Check!” and the key points are displayed throughout the building to normalize the process.