The Essential Business/Employees of Condos and HOAs During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses to close by 5 PM yesterday, March 23.
What does that mean for your condominium, cooperative, and homeowners association?
While there may be some changes and clarifications as things evolve, at the present time the applicable guidance provides that the following are exempt and not ordered to close:
- Building and property maintenance companies, including without limitation plumbers, electricians, HVAC service companies, roofers, environmental services companies, exterminators, arborists, and landscapers
- Other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
- Janitorial firms
- Support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential solid waste and hazardous waste
- Support staff who interface with customers to manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll and billing
- Workers to ensure continuity of building functions
- Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures
The following would fall within one or more of the above exemptions and can continue to work under current guidance:
- On-site managers
- Security/front desk personnel to maintain building access control and physical security measures
- Building engineers and maintenance staff
- Management companies, including departments for payroll, billing, and payment processing
- Other contractors and service providers who are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and building functions
Community associations, and other exempt businesses, are “urged to promote work-from-home arrangements to the greatest extent possible.” Employees and contractors who do not feel comfortable working even though their businesses are exempt from closing should not be pressured to work.
This list may change based on further guidance from the State of Maryland.
For those buildings that have their own engineer to conduct boiler inspections internally, you may wish to retain an outside firm to perform the inspections on an as-needed basis, should the on-site engineer not be able to perform the inspections.
Please check with your legal counsel regularly as the situation evolves. Law firms continue to be considered “essential” businesses under the Governor’s Order at this time, and Lerch, Early & Brewer is maintaining seamless operations in service of our valued clients in challenging times.