The co-working space within which The Portland Pod resides has been given guidance by the DECD for phased re-open. As tenants of the co-working space, that guidance has been extended to us. I want to be fully transparent about what all this means and how we will operate.
First, we’re in a moral grey area
Neither the state, nor the city of South Portland have given us explicit permission to re-open. The re-open preparedness checklist provided by the state does not, at any phase of the re-opening plan (yet published), mention professional services businesses. We are taking what we believe to be a logical liberty in beginning to re-open. That logic is this: If barber shops have been allowed open since May 1st, we can certainly maintain a lower-risk environment than a barbershop. How will be made clear in what follows.
Second, this re-open will be very limited and very controlled
These restrictions are intended to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to a degree of near impossibility. We feel we must be this cautious and no exceptions will be made under any circumstances.
- This initial phase of our broader re-opening applies only to existing clientele. The Portland Pod will not be on-boarding any new local, in-studio clients during this time*.
- This only applies to in-studio recording work. Our courses, consultation services, and client update meetings will continue to take place online through solutions like Zoom and/or Google Hangouts/Meet
- We will only permit one client, per day, into our studios. This doesn’t mean one client in Studio A and one client in Studio B, this means the daily sum total of clients entering our facilities will be one.
- A “client” may include up to two individual people (who must be present at the same time). You can’t have Dave from Accounting come in at 8am and Sue from Operations come in at 3pm – they must come together and at the same time. A “client” may also include a guest. For example, Sue from Operations interviewing Chris from XYZ, INC.
- All clients must enter through our southern entrance. For clarification, this is the one nearest to Studios A and B. For further clarification: “the airlock”.
- Upon entry, clients will remove outerwear and hang it on hooks in the airlock**. Outerwear includes
- Shoes/Boots/Slippers etc
- Blazers and Sports Jackets
- Upon exit of the “airlock”, and entry into the main space, clients will be provided an application of hand sanitizer.
From here, recording sessions will carry on as they normally would. Upon completion of a session, clients will exit the way they came in, retrieving outerwear and other personal effects as they do. When clients leave, the studio will be closed for the day and our sanitation action plan will be executed.
Rinse. Repeat. Every day.
Lastly, there will be no exceptions made
If you’re not comfortable removing your shoes, or leaving your purse in the airlock, you will not be allowed into the space. These items are contamination vectors, and, since they are not required for recording, they must be left in the airlock. The idea here is to keep you, me, and the broader community as safe as is possible while still being able to do the things we need to do as businesses.
On a personal note
We’re struggling to survive, and maybe you are too. There’s an urge to just “get on with it”, I don’t want to take my shoes off either and I don’t want to hand-sanitize my way into an eczema outbreak. Nobody wants to be this restricted in their daily activities, but we cannot let concern for our livelihoods make us short-sighted: the survival of the whole is more important than the survival of the one. By re-opening in this way, The Portland Pod is striking a balance between putting food on my family’s table, doing what is best for the Greater Portland Community, and fulfilling service to our clientele.
None of this is easy, but I believe this measured approach will create the most optimal outcomes for all parties involved.
*We will take new non-local clients and/or new local clients who do not require a recording space. Some of our clientele records elsewhere and sends us audio to edit. Since this sort of client never enters our recording facility, we will continue to seek new clients of this variety during the re-opening.
** The airlock is secure on both ends. It is a hallway between two locked doors. One leading to the outside and one leading to the waiting area of Studios A and B.