Florida Realtors has prepared this guide so real estate brokers ready to open their offices to employees and customers can do so safely.
As executive and emergency orders regarding the coronavirus pandemic are expiring and relaxing for many areas of Florida, brokers are wondering whether they can open the doors to their office.
The real question is whether you should open your doors.
Since you cannot eliminate all risks of the coronavirus, Florida Realtors recommends a cautious, measured approach to minimize health risks. Please be sure to read the important information hyperlinked in this article. Also, refer to state and local orders that govern conduct and may vary based on conditions in your specific area.
Factors to consider
- Determine the short-term and long-term function of the office. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests a business and workplace plan for changes to the office function because of COVID-19.
- Create a budget for initial and ongoing expenses for technology, office enhancements, cleaning and other COVID-19-related expenses.
- Have the office cleaned and rearrange all furnishing to achieve social distancing. You may need to reduce the overall number of people you have in the office and enhance ventilation.
- Develop and update as need a plan for offering a continually clean, disinfected office environment consistent with CDC guidance.
- Minimize shared spaces, and to the extent practical at least initially, delay the use of breakrooms, coffee and water stations, conference rooms.
- Plan for regular and proper cleaning and disinfection of:
- all common areas considering the frequency of use
- shared office equipment such copiers, telephones, fax machines and computer stations
- high-touch surface areas such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, stairwell railings, etc.
- Make hand sanitizer readily available to customers, agents and employees.
- Require sick people to stay home.
- If customers are allowed in the office, consider an appointment-only scenario to prevent customers from congregating in reception areas.
- Coordinate between agents regarding their use of office to minimize occupancy and maximize safety.
- Prominently post safety policies throughout the office.
- Plan for the safe handling of mail and deliveries. Consider temporarily suspending personal deliveries.
- Evaluate your ventilation system to achieve maximum air filtration and circulation.
- Make use of any available outdoor areas to allow for greeting customers and as places for collaboration with reduced risk of viral transmission.
- Establish a limit of 10 customers, agents and employees in the office at any one time. If square footage dictates, consider fewer than 10 people. Also, verify any maximum set by local order.
- Determine whether people visiting the office will wear face coverings, gloves or other personal protective equipment (PPE). The use of PPE at your request or voluntarily may trigger Occupational Safety and Health Act compliance requirements.
- Develop and communicate a plan for when a customer, agent or employee test positive for COVID-19.
- In addition to OSHA, familiarize yourself with frequently asked questions for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and American with Disabilities Act requirements related to COVID-19 in the workplace.
- If you make any changes to your license locations, please remember to change your address with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
RISK CANNOT BE ELIMINATED COMPLETELY, but these are measures that prioritize safety.
Reprinted with permission Florida Realtors. All rights reserved.