New or temporary social distancing approaches to controlling building occupant flow have resulted in the potential for public safety to be compromised, like blocked or locked emergency exits to limit or prohibit access to portions of a building.
As businesses and communities adapt to social distancing, many have found it necessary to alter the way people move in and out of their establishments in order to comply with social distancing recommendations. In some cases, patrons are asked to queue outside the business, and in other cases, patrons are corralled into lines and aisles in order to maintain 6 feet of physical separation.
Fire and life safety requirements, including those mandating a minimum number of emergency exits, have not changed as a result of COVID-19 or social distancing. The potential for a fire and the need for emergency exits has not changed, regardless of the number of people in a building.
It is important that we all remain vigilant and aware during this challenging time by reporting any instances of emergency exits being blocked or otherwise inaccessible during an emergency.