As New York City partially reopened Monday, six real estate trade organizations and labor unions issued joint guidelines for reentry into commercial office buildings across the city.
The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), labor union 32BJ SEIU, the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB), Local 94 International Union of Operating Engineers, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater New York (BOMA NY) issued the guidelines Thursday.
The “Best Practices for Reentering Commercial Buildings in Phase Two of New York Forward” guidelines will provide building owners and property managers with recommendations on what actions should be taken in order to safely reopen commercial buildings, incorporating guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health.
“Like all New Yorkers, I am thankful for the heroic work our healthcare professionals, building service workers and other essential personnel did over the past three months to keep our city safe and our people healthy,” James Whelan, president of REBNY, said in a statement. “We must honor their hard work and the lives they saved by remaining vigilant of public health recommendations and requirements.”
The reopening guidelines include buildings testing all mechanical, electric and plumbing systems prior to reopening, preparing common areas for social distancing and posting signage explaining new office protocol. Stocking up on cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment is also recommended, as well as hand sanitizing stations throughout public areas of the building.
The guidance suggests that office managers coordinate and communicate with office tenants about their individual reopening plans to create unified plans that will facilitate contact tracing. Required face coverings, daily health screenings and regular and thorough cleaning of offices are also strongly recommended.
“As the outbreak of COVID-19 subsides, it is imperative that we continue to band together and follow the same set of guidelines for reentering commercial office buildings,” Hani Salama, chair and CEO of BOMA NY, said in a press statement. “Together with the industry’s leading minds, BOMA NY carefully prepared the strategies to begin repopulating workspaces throughout New York. Our continued collaboration will ensure our collective safety and maximize productivity.”
On Monday, New York City entered phase one of reopening, which will allow select retail businesses to reopen for curbside and in-store pickup and construction, agriculture, manufacturing and wholesale trade industries. The commercial building guidelines issued by REBNY and others will be applicable to phase two of reopening when professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support and real estate are allowed to begin operating again.
“New Yorkers always get back up when we are knocked down and these guidelines will help us do that by showing the world yet again that New York City is a healthy and safe place to live, work, invest and entertain,” Whelan said.