New York City began Phase One of the New York Forward Plan June 8, which included the resumption of nonessential construction and manufacturing, in addition to certain nonessential retail businesses. Commercial office buildings, office-based tenants and real estate services will restart operations in Phase Two of New York Forward.
The Real Estate Board of New York provided a summary/guidance for real estate professionals and property owners.
- Review all building systems. Certain protections may be applied to existing and new HVAC systems to minimize future spreading of the virus in buildings. Owners and managers should consult evolving guidance from ASHRAE, CDC and other public health and professional organizations to follow recommended practices.
- Develop protocols for outside vendors. Ensure that vendors performing building maintenance or construction work comply with State and City guidelines including wearing face coverings and limiting occupancy in enclosed spaces.
- Protect building workers. Owners and property managers will need to ensure that building service workers have appropriate PPE and training on new procedures and are staffed at sufficient levels.
- Adapt amenity spaces to adhere to public health guidelines. When allowed to reopen, building owners and property managers should ensure amenity spaces are appropriately supervised, proper social distance is maintained and all guidelines are communicated to residents and staff.
- Conduct daily health screenings. Owners and property managers will need to be prepared to conduct health screenings of their employees and visitors to the building.
- Revise building entrance and exit protocols to ensure social distancing. This includes facilitating contactless entry and exit of buildings and installing social-distancing floor markers in building lobbies.
- Post signage detailing new protocols. Building owners and managers should post signs describing new protocols, physical designations and health guidelines for tenants throughout the building.
- Promote good hygiene. Residential buildings should ensure hand cleaning stations are readily available throughout building common spaces, including entrances and exits; security and concierge desks; elevators and lobbies, and that they include either soap, water, paper towels and touchless trash, or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Establish protocols for leasing and viewings. Safety measures while renting or selling units should include staggered appointments, showings only for unoccupied or vacant units and utilization of social distancing and face coverings. Lease signings and closings should be conducted electronically as much as possible.