Coronavirus / COVID-19
A Note from Planned Companies’ CEO, Robert Francis
As the CEO of Planned Companies, as a father, a son, and a member of the industry & our community, I feel the anxiety and gravity of this time. Personally & professionally, we must do our part to make a tangible and positive difference in the lives of our clients, associates, friends and families. We at Planned continue to take on our responsibility to provide the necessary and appropriate supplies, equipment and professionally trained associates to address and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Up-to-date information on CDC guidelines and prevention best practices can be found on a new section of our website, www.PlannedCompanies.com/COVID-19. Our goal is to educate and inform our clients, our employees and the industry.
We are all in this together I wish everyone safety & good health.
Planned’s Coronavirus Virtual Town Hall Series
**NOTE** Our Virtual Town Hall series has a new day & time;
TUESDAY @ 10:00 am
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 11
Featured guest: Ellis Dumont, Advanced Parking Concepts
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 10
Featured guest: Wayne Dow, JGS Insurance
Click the button below to download a copy of Wayne Dow’s PowerPoint from out Virtual Town Hall meeting
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 9
Featured guest: Lisa Montgomery, Cooper Pest
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 8
Featured guest: Steve Lang & Matt Cronin, Falcon Engineering
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 7
Featured guest: Bill Harvey, CertaPro Painters
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 6
Featured guest: Michael Fazio, LIV unLtd
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 5
Featured guest: Ben Basch, American Pools
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 4
Featured guest: Ray Venturino, City Fire Equipment
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 3
Featured guest: Jeff Shipman, President & CEO, Heartline Fitness
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 2
Featured guest: Peter Theodoropoulis, CTO Planned Companies
COVID-19 Town Hall Update, Episode 1
Featured guest: Martin Cabalar, Esq.
Local Virtual Town Hall Recordings
Client Messages of Appreciation
Frequently Asked Questions from our recent virtual town hall webinars
What would be your advice concerning office staff who say they do not feel safe going into work and request to work from home - specifically, non-essential roles (i.e. leasing agents)?
With the exception of essential retail businesses, all other businesses or non-profits are required to accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable, for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent that a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from home, that business or non-profit must make their best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to allow essential operations to continue. Some examples of employees that need to by physically present would include: law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and other first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff
I have a few tenants that are concerned and are asking if the building will be treated (sanitized) by an outside company. Is this something that the insurance company might pay for?
You should submit a claim to your insurance carrier. However, it is very likely that there is an exclusion to coverage. Review your policy(ies) closely and speak with your insurance agent and counsel.
Have Boards been receptive to virtual meetings?
|Yes, very much so. In New Jersey, as I am sure is the case in other states as well, governing boards of a community association are required by law to have their meetings at which binding votes are going to be taken open to their members. In light of the pandemic, many of our communities have asked whether it is permissible to conduct association business, particularly board meetings at which binding votes are taken, via e-mail or other similar means. The short answer is, no. Community associations are still required to follow open meeting requirements under the law. Becker is prepared to help you conduct your open meetings via conference call, Zoom or other similar means, as may be necessary. Please feel free to reach out to any of the attorneys in our Community Association Practice Group if you have any question or need assistance setting up a virtual open meeting.|
Should you notify other tenants of a "presumed" COVID-19 case or only Confirmed cases?
|You should notifiy residents or tenants of presumed and confirmed cases; but, only if, you received the information from (a) the resident who tested positive (or an authorized representative if your tenant is a commercial entity and one of its employees is presumed positive or confirmed to be positive for COVID-19, Corona virus) (b) another occupant of the residence or (c) local, country or state health officials. In no circumstances should you rely on rumors.|
Rental properties - residents asking for rent relief what should a response be?
|These requests should be handled on a case-by-case basis in consultation with your legal counsel. While you should not promise a payment arrangement for all, which some will take as a signal that it is not necessary to pay, you will be able to evaluate individual situations and perhaps offer waiver of late fees in certain circumstances or payment plans in others. Entering into voluntary settlement arrangements may be more cost effective than engaging in litigation. Of course, each situation is different and we encourage you to consult with counsel when entering into any payment arrangement to ensure it protects your interests.|
There is so much out there already and a lot is redundant, how should a manager filter out what to send?
|Consult with your legal counsel, management team and vendors to develop a plan for communications to the residents. We are here to help you.|
How do you enforce the entry of visitors or guests? Can you provide more details on who would be considered visitors or guest? A dog walker could be considered essential for some people, a visitor bringing food to someone shut in can also be essential ie.
|It should be noted that the governor’s Executive Order in New Jersey does not mandate who community associations must permit in their communities. Because community associations come in many different flavors, the concerns about guests and visitors may differ based on the type of community you live in or manage. For instance, mid- and high-rise buildings have special concerns because each guest or visitor brings a small increased risk of carrying the coronavirus. But when one aggregates a large number of guests and visitors the risk increases substantially. Further, those buildings have elevators and other common spaces that guests and visitors pass through, including, of course, elevators. It has been estimated that the coronavirus can survive for 72 hours on hard services, thereby presenting a risk as increasing numbers of people use the elevators. As a result, a mid- or high-rise community association board is within its authority to limit guests and visitors to a greater degree than the governor’s order might suggest. This would include restricting access to nannies, dog walkers, housecleaners, etc.|
With stay at home orders in place, if you are providing a disinfecting service as apart of other services would we be considered essential? What would the employees need to provide to prove this?
|Yes, disinfecting and cleaning services may be provided. You should provided your employees with proof of employment in an essential business, such as a letter. Consult with your legal counsel on the specific language of the letter.|
Regarding communication to commerical tenants in a Mid/High Rise buildings, If a LL is told by a tenant that one of their employees has tested positive is that LL required to notify the other tenants in the building.
|Yes, the landlord should advise that an employee in the building has tested positive. No personal information or anything which may allow others to determine who that employee is or where they work should be provided. Consult with your legal counsel as to the specific language of the notification.|
Do you anticipate law suits against communities, managers and management companies in relationship to the virus and how the communities addressed the potential outbreak?
|Yes, we do. That does not mean that the lawsuits will have any likelihood of success, but anytime there is the opportunity to allege that something more could have been done to protect the residents, no matter how silly, the opportunity for a lawsuit unfortunately presents itself.|
What part of landscaping services are considered essential?
|This is a state specific question. For example, in New Jersey, landscaping services are permitted. Whereas, in New York, they are prohibited.|
Are all of Planned's services considered "essential?"
|This is a state specific question, but Janitorial, Maintenance, Security and Concierge services are permitted to be provided in New Jersey.|
In a condo that has staffing, are any of the staff considered “essential”? Should desk staff still be present? How about maintenance staff … should they be present or just available on-call for emergencies?
|With the exception of essential retail businesses, all other businesses or non-profits are required to accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable, for telework or work-from-home arrangements. For building staff employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from home, you must make your best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to allow essential operations to continue. Some examples of employees that need to by physically present would include: cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.|
What does “stay at home” mean?
|It means just that, “Stay at Home,” unless you have a permitted reason to leave. Everyone needs to do their part and stay home, unless absolutely necessary for any permitted exception. We cannot sufficiently express how important this is to successfully defeat the spread and increasing number of COVID-19 cases . We strongly encourage everyone to adhere to the Executive Order in their state and take all possible steps to preserve the health and safety of your neighbors, which will in turn preserve the health care system’s capacity to treat those who require emergency or intensive care. When you are out of your home for a permitted reason, you are still required to adhere to social distancing and stay six feet apart from others.|
What is the protocol for employees to travel to job sites with multiple passengers in the vehicle which violates social distancing ? Legally do we need to provide multiple vehicles for teams of two or more?
|In New Jersey, unless they are immediately family members, caretakers, household members or romantic partners, they need to be able to stay six feet apart at all time, including while traveling to work.|