How Does A Stay at Home Order Impact Operations?
To note, the statewide order linked above supersedes any local action or order but only to the extent that the local action or order allows essential services or activities that are prohibited under this Executive Order. Meaning, if a local government issued a more relaxed order or action, the state order would overrule it.
Seminole County issued an Executive Order that places tighter restrictions on social distancing. Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, at 12:00 AM, businesses will be allowed to stay open, contingent upon the following:
All employees and patrons must stay at least 6 feet apart,
Group meeting/training must be capped at 10 people or less,
Building occupancy must not exceed 30% of the maximum capacity, and
Check out points, including storefronts, must be monitored to ensure compliance of social distancing requirements by marking floors or similar actions to maintain 6 feet distance between customers.
AAGO is providing insight for members on how these "Stay at Home" or "Shelter in Place" orders may impact onsite or development operations. This page will be updated as information is made available, but should not be considered comprehensive, and is based only on the best available information. It is important that your company or community makes operational, policy, or staffing decisions based on a thorough internal review and consultation with counsel. Nothing contained within this article should be considered legal advice or official guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which property management functions and personnel are considered "essential?"
A: After consultation with County officials and review of CISA guidelines, onsite management, onsite maintenance, and suppliers or contractors serving in an operational capacity for management are considered "essential personnel." Additionally, development and construction services, as well as associated functions and personnel, are also likely considered essential. If there are office or "back of the house" functions that could be performed remotely by onsite or corporate personnel that would be encouraged. Companies should be able to make the "business case" for the need to report to work. Lastly, even when considered "essential" it is imperative that government and company mandated health and safety procedures, social distancing (6 feet apart), and other protocols be strictly adhered to.
Q: What if authorities ask my onsite teams or suppliers/contractors why they are working?
A: "Residential" is defined in the order as essential. That should include onsite management, maintenance, and suppliers or contractors working to protect/maintain the asset and/or to provide necessary services for residents. Onsite teams, employees, maintenance, and suppliers/contractors should be advised to do the following:
- Travel to and from the workplace(s) directly without making unrelated/unsanctioned stops.
- Personnel should be able to produce both company and government-issued identification if/when requested by law enforcement or county officials.
- Instruct team members and supplier partners to strictly adhere to safety protocols, social distancing, and to follow company policies and procedures.
Q: Why are these orders being issued?
A: The purpose of a "Stay at Home" or "Shelter in Place" order is solely to curtail "community spread" of the coronavirus by limiting person to person, group gatherings, and physical or proximate contact. It is important for owners, operators, and suppliers/contractors to cooperate and support this goal. To that end, we recommend you review the information compiled here and follow the guidance of official sources such as the Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control.
- Make sure you advise personnel and contractors not to report to work if exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19, if they have been in contact with someone who has been infected, or if they are sick.
Q: Are there other requirements that apply to "essential personnel?"
A: Yes. As mentioned above, even essential personnel are required to maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet apart from other people), adhere to safety protocols, use appropriate protective equipment, etc. Personnel should only report to work for "essential" or official business that could not otherwise be conducted or postponed (i.e. working remotely).
Q: Do the same rules apply for the curfews currently in place?
A: It depends. We have a specific article on Emergency Maintenance and Curfews here. In short, it is likely that only emergencies onsite would be considered official/essential business during a curfew.
Q: How long are these orders in effect?
A: Both the Orange & Osceola Counties are beginning at 11:00 PM on Thursday, March 26th, 2020 and end at 11:00 PM on Thursday, April 9th, 2020.
Additional Resources & Information
Some members have inquired as to whether The Florida Apartment Association or AAGO will be providing a letter to be carried by personnel acknowledging property management personnel as "essential." Since we have received assurances that property management personnel and contractors are considered essential it is likely unnecessary to produce such a letter. So long as team members are following protocols and can state the nature of their business that should be adequate, but should this change we will update accordingly. As you can imagine, orders can change and the situation is constantly evolving. Please stay tuned to AAGO.org for the most recent information!