New NFPA fact sheet and upcoming webinar address issues facing offices, restaurants, and retail stores as they enter “the new normal”

Sign up for NFPA’s FREE webinar, Ensuring Safety as Buildings Return to a New Normal, on Wednesday, May 27, 1-2 p.m. EST, which will include a brief review of the new fact sheet followed by a Q&A with panel of NFPA staff

May 21, 2020 – As stay-at-home policies ease and businesses reopen across the country, building owners and facility managers of offices, restaurants, and retail stores face unique challenges as they enter “the new normal.” Working to adhere to public health requirements and guidelines in response to COVID-19, businesses of all sizes are adjusting their physical configurations and operational usage to help minimize employee and customer exposure to the virus.

In that process, however, adequate levels of fire and life safety must be maintained.

With these challenges in mind, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a new fact sheet, Ensuring Safety as Buildings Return to a New Normal, which works to help businesses meet states’ public health requirements while ensuring adequate levels of occupant safety.

“As businesses vigorously work to keep occupants safe from COVID-19, there is significant potential for modifications to be made that negatively impact fire and life safety levels, which could prove tragic in the event of a fire or other emergency,” said Jonathan Hart, a technical lead at NFPA. “While we completely understand and support efforts to minimize the virus’s spread, it’s critical that adequate safety is maintained in all capacities.”

The new fact sheet addresses guidelines and considerations in the following areas: egress management; queuing lines; occupant flow; partition placement; hand sanitizer storage and placement; automatic and power-operated doors; seating arrangements; and storage management.

NFPA will also be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, May 27 from 1:00-2:00 pm EST, which will include a brief overview of the fact sheet followed by a Q&A led by a panel of NFPA staff, including Jonathan Hart, Shawn Mahoney, and Val Ziavras. Register for the free webinar.

In addition, NFPA’s coronavirus landing page provides access all newly released documents, as well as existing COVID-19 related information, guidelines, and resources provided to date.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at

Contact: Lorraine CarliPublic Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275