June 16, 2020
Governor issues “Safer at Home” guidance
As of today, the “Stay at Home” order has expired, however, the Governor has issued new “Safer at Home” universal guidance for all business operation, including agents working in real estate offices. “Safer at Home” is scheduled to expire on August 1.
To ensure the safety of all Granite Staters and to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on businesses, workers, and customers, all employers and employees must take steps to either stay open or reopen safely. There is specific guidance in Executive Order #52 Exhibits A &B for businesses as well as for those 65 or older or with underlying health conditions.
NHAR interprets these requirements to apply to agents and employees utilizing a brokerage office.
The following bullet points summarize the requirements, but all brokers, agents and managers should review the complete “Safer at Home” order. Please note, while there is a distinction among the points with regard to “should” vs. “must,” it is our recommendation to follow each of them in order to avoid the potential for increased liability.
- Employers must require all employees who are sick or not feeling well to stay home, and employees must notify their supervisor by phone.
- Employers must develop a process for screening all employees reporting for work for COVID-19 related symptoms (refer to specific requirements in Safer at Home guidance).
- Employers must strongly promote frequent hand hygiene and alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be made readily available.
- Office must implement workplace cleaning and disinfection practices.
- Employers must reduce the risk to employees in the workplace by supporting the use of cloth face coverings in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain, implement social distancing guidelines, and modify employee schedules, where possible, to reduce the number of physical interactions.
- Meetings should be conducted remotely when able; in-person meetings should be limited and employees should maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet from others at all times.
- Employees should be allowed to work from home as much as practical.
- Plans should be implemented to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism. In all cases, employers must work in a manner to ensure privacy rights.
- Covered employers and employees should be reminded of the provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act: This law allows for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons, such as for self-quarantining or seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Employers must review their policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws.
- Extensive signage on health policies should be posted in the workplace to help educate building occupants on COVID-19 best practices.