As a commercial tenant navigating the near-complete shut down of the economy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can feel a little like looking over a cliff (and being pushed from behind).
By now you have certainly received innumerable warnings, reminders and updates on the current state of the workplace and COVID-19. Take this advice seriously for the protection of your employees, customers and yourselves. For reference, please find below the recommendations from NAI Elliott:
Many of you have overcome the basic health and safety concerns or they have been rendered irrelevant by the mass shuttering of businesses that could put the community at risk for further virus transmission. The real issue now is how to survive. At NAI Elliott, we recommend tenants complete the following steps:
• Reach out to your insurance broker or provider immediately to assess which, if any, coverage could apply.
• Utilize the business resources listed below and actively consider any governmental funds available.
• Review your lease. Know what provisions may apply to this situation, and which do not.
• Reach out to your property management company or building ownership. Be specific about your situation to assist them in their response. Share what changes you have made to your staff and your gross sales to demonstrate the impact of the situation.
• While it may be difficult to keep in mind, know that the property owner is very likely in financial hardship as well. Consider what compromise might assist you and the landlord. For example, would you accept short term rent deferral in exchange for extending the term of your lease?
When times get difficult, expert advice and guidance are essential. Reach out to us for assistance navigating your lease interpretation, landlord negotiations, and considerations of where you will continue business when the crisis has been averted.
For those managed properties with maintained common areas, the contracted maintenance (janitorial/porter) vendors have informed us of their ongoing attention to hard surface cleaning and relevant use of disinfectants. With that in mind, it is important to acknowledge that routine cleaning will not make every surface safe for every user. Following CDC protocol for proper washing of hands, avoiding touching face and eyes and social distancing are the primary protection against transmission.
In the event a Tenant has been informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 among their employees, NAI Elliott would ask for the following steps to be taken:
1. Provide NAI Elliott with notice that a member of their office (no names or personal information) has been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 by health authorities.
2. If possible, provide a relevant date/timeline of recent visit(s) to the Premises.
3. Follow CDC, OHA / WDH guidelines for proper response to the potential outbreak including cleaning/isolation of potential areas of contact within the Premises.
In response to notification to management, NAI Elliott will take the following steps:
1. Inform building owner, tenants and building vendors of the reported activity within the building. No personal information or rumored activity will be shared.
2. Coordinate, with landlord approval, on CDC recommended protocol for deep cleaning and sanitizing of all common area hard surfaces that were likely to have been exposed (elevators, lobby furniture, railings, common area doors, door handles, etc)
With the closure, or significant reduction in services, of many food service providers along with the voluntary work-from-home offices and low/no foot traffic retail our shopping centers and office buildings are at a dramatically reduced population. While this is the proper response to our situation, it does create opportunities for increased vandalism and break ins. Where possible door systems will be used to reduce open hours with tenant access by fob or code. We ask that in the event your business has chosen (or by mandate) to temporarily close you take necessary measures to secure the premises and discourage crime. Some recommendations are regular virtual or physical site visits to ensure space is secure, closing blinds, limiting signage to discrete closure notices, maintain lighting, etc.