Douglas Elliman continues to monitor the information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMC). As you can tell from what is reported through the media and the various government agencies, the situation is fluid and evolving daily. As the virus spreads, the chances that residents and building employees will become ill increase. Obviously, we must hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
The continued spread of the Coronavirus could affect your building staff in a variety of ways. Staff members may become sick themselves, may be unable to come to work due transportation issues, school closures may require some staff members to stay home to take care of children, and some staff members may be unavailable to work in order to take care of an affected family member. No matter what the reason is, we must prepare to operate with a diminished staff. We have instructed the building staff not to come to work if they have any flu-like symptoms, whether or not confirmed to be infected with the Coronavirus. Service providers may face the same challenges.
A slightly reduced staff may cause mild service reductions: fewer trash pickups, no deliveries to apartments, etc. A more severe reduction may suspend the ability of the staff to perform work in apartments. The most severe reductions may require resident volunteers to step in to perform essential tasks such as trash removal and security. Should this occur, the resident manager will post resident volunteer sign-up sheets. Apartment alterations may need to be suspended.
As in any crisis situation, communication is key. If your building has BuildingLink or a similar service, please be sure that your contact information is up to date. Otherwise, please be sure that the resident manager has your phone numbers and email addresses.
Many residents of the building would no doubt desire to be informed if anyone who resides or works in the building has been exposed to the virus. In order to lower—to the extent we can—the building’s risk, the staff will continue to perform extra cleaning in highly trafficked areas to reduce the chance of transmission.
Nevertheless, as an added precaution, we request that any tenant who believes that they have been exposed to the virus follow public health protocols, and inform either your DEPM Account Executive or your resident manager. Should a resident so inform either Douglas Elliman or the Resident Manager, we will notify residents and staff, mentioning only that a person may be affected. We will not release the name, or the apartment number.
If any occupant or member of your household tests positive for the Coronavirus, you and the members of your family must be quarantined for 14 days in the apartment pursuant to the Department of Health and CDC guidelines.
We have instructed the building staff to encourage all contractors, vendors and delivery persons who enter through the service entrance to wash their hands and any guests or delivery persons entering through the lobby to cleanse their hands at the dispensers before proceeding further into the building. In addition, we have asked the building staff to refrain from greeting anyone by physical contact ( i.e. Handshakes, high fives etc.) and remain at least 6 feet away from others when possible.
The Building staff members have already been instructed to follow NYC Department of Health guidelines as they relate to cleaning and cleaning products. Further, for the protection of staff members, they are encouraged to ask the following questions before entering a home to perform work:
Has anyone in the home had a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath?
In the 14 days before the visit, has anyone in the home traveled outside the United States or recently had contact with a person suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19?
If the answer is “yes” to either question and the visit can be postponed, the staff will politely ask to reschedule the visit in 14 days or when the resident or household member is feeling better.
If the visit cannot be postponed, the staff will politely ask that the individual remain in a separate room with the door closed, where possible.
Thank you for your cooperation in these difficult times. Please contact your resident manager or DEPM Account Executive for additional information or questions. Looking forward to a return to normal in the future and sending our best wishes that all our residents stay safe and healthy throughout this unsettling situation.
Looking forward to better times in the future when our beloved City can return to its normal self and we can all once again take advantage of the good things in life. Stay safe and healthy!