In Canada, Fire Inspectors are being asked to respond to complaints involving locked or obstructed exits, limited occupancy and physical distancing in box stores, grocery stores and restaurant pick up locations.
I would propose that Fire Inspectors be granted the Authority to calculate operation occupant loads in box stores, grocery stores and restaurant waiting areas.
By determining NET usable floor, we could then use a density factor to determine a maximum COVID temporary capacity that incorporates a 2meter (6 feet) physical distance.
I would propose that we use the following density factor.
area of a circle (assuming 1 person in the centre of the circle) = pie (3.14) x radius 2
However using a radius of 2m for each person that would incorporate a factor of safety of 2.
3.14 x 2 squared = 12.56 m2 per person or 135 ft squared using a 6 ft radius
By applying this density factor to the Net square footage. This gives us the density and MAXIMUM occupancy. Stores could have less patrons if they chose.
Manage in-out capacities at the principal entrance. (similar to licensed venues)
Using crowd management techniques, we manage movement, flow and egress through signage directing the public TO exits rather than blocking or redirecting away from particular exits. Consider travel distances.
Determine patron flow patterns in stores and incorporate physical distance measures in lineups.
Without Emergency delegation of authority, the density calculation may not be enforceable without a Fire/Building Code reference.
Each store has been left to manage on their own to manage through the pandemic.
No one more suited to provide this service than a Fire Inspector. Our support to store managers and owners would reduce the complaints received and increase Public Safety measures through the Pandemic.
Welcome your thoughts.