Division Title

Personal Safety Guidance

Physical Distancing and Onsite Density Requirements

The NIH density and physical distancing requirements are based on the CDC hospital admission levels  for county where each campus or facility is located.  Requirements for density and physical distancing are as follows:

  • Low Workplace Hospital Admission Level – No restrictions on density or physical distancing
  • Medium Workplace Hospital Admission Level – 6' of physical distancing recommended for all indoor, in-person meetings, in-person gatherings, and high-risk settings.  No limits on density.
  • High Workplace Hospital Admission Level.  6' of physical distancing recommended for all indoor, in-person meetings, in-person gatherings, and high-risk settings.  Density restrictions based on local case rates required. See detailed information below.
  • Healthcare and Healthcare Support Settings – Density and physical distancing requirements follow the current hospital admission level.

High Workplace Hospital Admission Level Requirements for Density and Distancing

When workplace hospital admission levels are “High" the NIH will adhere to the following guidance regarding physical distancing and density.

The NIH bases physical distancing recommendations and building density requirements on local conditions. Local 7-day case rates can be found online through the CDC website.

In accordance with Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce guidance, it is recommended that staff maintain 6' of physical distancing from other individuals when hospital admission levels are “high"; particularly for indoor, in-person gatherings such as meetings. Six feet of physical distancing is also recommended for high-risk settings. Avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact, such as handshakes. In-person meetings should be limited where possible. For more detailed guidance on how to maintain physical distance in the workplace, see the section in this document called Specific Workspace Guidance. Spaces with poor ventilation (e.g., no air supply vent, stagnant air, high humidity, etc.) should contact DOHS for further assistance in determining a safe occupancy limit.

Density determinations will be made using the following table, which is based on the prevalence of the Omicron B.1 variant and the universal use of surgical masks. Changes in the strain and masking will result in changes that will be published and messaged as needed.

To use this table you must use the 7-day case rate found here. After you have identified the 7-day case rate for your location, refer to the table below.

7-Day Case Rate 
(Cases/100k Residents/7 Days) 

Density Limit

250 or Lower1/35 s.f.
251-5001/50 s.f.
501-10001/75 s.f
1001-30001/125 s.f.
3001 and Higher1/250 s.f.

 See also page 3 of OSHA's COVID-19 Healthcare Worksite Checklist & Employee Job Hazard Analysis for assistance in implementing physical distancing measures.