LabCentral’s COVID-19 Update for Our CommunityMarch 18, 2020 | By Johannes Fruehauf
As the quickly-developing COVID-19 crisis continues to bring stress and uncertainty to our resident companies, their teams and their families, LabCentral appreciates their support, feedback and compliance with our proactive response measures to doing our part of the collective effort toward flattening the curve of this global pandemic.
Given the dynamic nature of the situation, LabCentral leadership has been in contact on a daily basis to ensure that decisions are made based on the most up-to-date COVID-19 data, and to thoughtfully balance the top two priorities for LabCentral:
- Mitigate potential health risks associated with COVID-19
- Maintain critical business continuity for resident companies
As of today, we have been very fortunate to have no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at LabCentral. We remain diligently committed to the proactive measures being taken. We have had reports of potential secondary or tertiary exposures and each of those individuals have taken the appropriate measures of self-quarantine, following the guidance from the CDC. In addition, we enlisted the appropriate personnel to shut down and/or clean the spaces that those individuals occupied.
While there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases at LabCentral now, we expect the situation to worsen over the coming weeks as increased testing will uncover more COVID-19 cases and potentially require increased restrictions beyond our control, including the potential closure of LabCentral facilities at the direction of our landlord or local, state or federal government authorities.
The following are the enhanced proactive measures LabCentral is taking and recommendations to our community:
Business Continuity Planning
Given the uncertainty, LabCentral is asking residents to immediately begin making plans for the likely possibility of a building-wide shutdown, including creating contingency plans that will allow business continuity through a period of further limited building access and/or a rapid re-start in case of an externally-mandated shutdown of a site.
Enhanced Proactive Measures
With the announcement from Gov. Baker on Sunday evening to ban on-site consumption of food at bars and restaurants and forbid assemblies of more than 25 people, we have taken this into consideration and made additional updates to our proactive response measures already in place, including:
1. Work from Home Policy: We are now strongly advocating a work from home policy for all residents that do not need to be on-site. We appreciate those resident companies that have implemented this most promising mitigation measure but understand that a few companies have still not implemented this for their teams. The safety of our community is paramount, and this cannot occur without full alignment of a robust WFH policy that is being followed by all resident companies.
2. Event Cancellation: All LabCentral events cancelled until further notice.
3. Tour Cancellation: All LabCentral tours cancelled until further notice.
4. Café Options: All LabCentral cafés are now shut down. Instituting a no kitchen or food service policy will help prevent people from eating together “restaurant style” in our facilities, while continuing to ensure no cross-exposure of food and drink.
5. Restricted Visitor Access: In order to reduce the risk for all, LabCentral building access continues to be limited to residents with LabCentral badges only. No other vendors or visitors are allowed onsite. Please host all meetings (including vendor meetings, Board Meetings and new hire interviews, etc.) online via web conferencing.
6. Reduced Touch Points: With the goal of reducing potential exposures, resident companies have been asked to do the following:
· Wipe down your work areas with 70% alcohol or similar surface-disinfecting wipes prior to departure each day. This is a best practice to assist with limiting potential surface exposure to others in the community.
· Prop open all conference room doors. Again, feel free to close if needed, however with the reduction of residents on-site we do not anticipate privacy to be a major concern.
· Wipes have been provided in conference rooms and common areas (assuming continued availability). Please wipe down the conference room table and any chair arms and equipment you are utilizing before and after use.
· Social distancing. The CDC highly recommends maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others when possible and reducing all physical contact with others, such as handshakes. In addition, proper hand-washing is critical to protect yourself and others around you.
New Resident Training
Trainings and orientation for new LabCentral residents will continue as scheduled but will now be hosted remotely by the LabCentral team via video conference.
LabCentral has reached out to building management to see if additional parking passes are available for residents who are no longer allowed to use public transportation but must be on-site for mission-critical purposes. We will follow up with resident company leadership if additional passes become available on a limited basis due to the number of people now working from home.
From the entire LabCentral team, thank you again for your continued support of these increased efforts which are meant to keep our entire community safe and your critical business needs moving forward. Additional or modified protocols may become necessary in the weeks ahead as more information from local authorities and health institutions becomes available. We will continue to communicate updates as they occur.