BOMA International’s Coronavirus Resource Center

Back in January 2020, when the threat of the novel coronavirus first began to materialize, BOMA International began releasing guidance documents to provide commercial real estate professionals with credible information on how to mitigate the potential health and business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. BOMA International continues to monitor the latest COVID-19 developments, and additional resources are being posted regularly to this webpage ( These resources include webinar recordings, relevant articles and links to helpful documents, websites and expert analysis. Members also should refer to the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) for the latest updates and best practices.

Thank you to Yardi for their support of our COVID-19 thought leadership. 

What's New

New Guidance to Navigate COVID-19 Operational Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted both the commercial real estate industry and the scientific community to consider the role building systems might play in the health and safety of building occupants. Navigating through evolving new considerations for building operations can be challenging—and often complicated—work for property professionals, which is why BOMA International has partnered with global engineering and professional services firm Jacobs to share expert guidance around optimizing building systems to maximize occupant health and safety and mitigate risk. Drawing from guidance issued by health agencies and industry organizations, Improving Occupant Safety Inside Buildings provides property professionals with timely operational recommendations for building systems. While there is no single “one-size-fits-all” solution for all building types and systems, the guidance found in this resource can help commercial owners and operators determine the best strategies and technologies to deploy in their buildings now and in the months ahead.

Guidance Documents

Guidance Document #1 
What You Need to Know: Novel Coronavirus
Updated February 25, 2020

Guidance Document #4 
Getting Back to Work: Preparing
Buildings for Re-Entry
Updated May 1, 2020

Guidance Document #7   
Getting Back to Work 2.0: Building Re-Entry Best Practices in a COVID-19 Reality
Updated October 23, 2020

Guidance Document #2 
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Checklist
Updated March 4, 2020

Guidance Document #5  
Industrial Re-Set: Operational and Management Guidelines for Industrial Properties
Updated May 18, 2020

Guidance Document #3 
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Tenant FAQ
Updated March 25, 2020

Guidance Document #6 
Preparing for Emergency Evacuations
Updated June 9, 2020

Looking Ahead: The Future of the Industry

As workers gradually return to the office, property managers are enlisting the help of innovative technology solutions to help facilitate the transition. Among these cutting-edge solutions are sensors that measure space density, elevator antibacterial ultraviolet lights and new functionalities on mobile applications that allow users to schedule in-office time and engage with colleagues who are working remotely. According to industry experts, such adoptions will help assure tenants that the "next normal" will be a safe one. Read more to discover what property professionals are doing to accommodate their tenants’ Great Return.

While COVID-19 continues to be a disruptive force for the office sector and its tenants, the perceived value of the office as a key ingredient of business success remains strong. That is one of the major takeaways of the BOMA International COVID-19 Commercial Real Estate Impact Study, a groundbreaking study of more than 3,000 U.S. commercial office space decision-makers commissioned by BOMA International, underwritten by global real estate software company Yardi and developed by Brightline Strategies, a leading real estate research and advisory services firm. The study, published in December 2020, provides a clear indication of the pandemic’s broader transformational effects on commercial real estate and how tenant attitudes towards the in-person work environment have shifted. The survey found that almost half of the respondents would be somewhat or very likely to renew their leases if the decision was based solely on building managers’ responses to COVID-19. But what exactly are building managers doing that is working? And what tenant concerns should today’s owners and operators be aware of? Read our deep dive on the results of the study to find the answers to these and other questions. Interested in participating in a future study? Contact

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how property professionals are approaching budget season for 2021 and how they are reforecasting income, operating expenses and capital expenses to predict their property's financial performance at the end of 2020. In finalizing their reforecasts, property professionals are also recalculating projected operating expense pass-throughs to tenants for the current year. BOMA International and InspiRE Commercial Real Estate Services have partnered to create a resource to help you navigate the new uncertainties surrounding operating expense calculations and reconciliations. The Impact of COVID-19 on Operating Expense Pass-Throughs in Commercial Real Estate provides guidance on steps to take now to ensure a smooth transition into 2021.

BOMA International has published Managing Through Pandemics: Preparing Your Buildings, Tenants and Staff, a guidebook covering every aspect of managing a commercial building through a global health crisis. Covering everything from creating a pandemic plan to business continuity and legal considerations, Managing Through Pandemics is an essential resource for all property professionals. Two decades into the 21st century, the world has already faced several pandemic outbreaks, including SARS in 2003, the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009 and COVID-19 over the past year—and we will likely face more. Use this guide, available as a free resource thanks to the generous support of Yardi, to better prepare for what comes next.

Despite the majority of office workers still working remotely, the overall appetite for the traditional in-person work environment remains high. While those working from home have managed to remain productive, Cushman & Wakefield’s “The Future of Workplace” research report found that employees feel like they are losing meaningful connections and a sense of organizational culture, since certain learning and mentoring opportunities are not easily replicated in a virtual environment. Now more than ever, commercial tenants are recognizing the power that the office holds, and its ability to serve as an inspiring destination abound with opportunities for cultural connection, team bonding and innovation. Today’s property professionals must be prepared help clients fulfill their renewed workplace expectations, while leveraging other key considerations for these unprecedented times. Read more from Cushman & Wakefield’s Marla Maloney as she breaks down The Ongoing Value of the Traditional Office.

While the trials of social distancing, widespread quarantine and business interruption caught most of us unprepared, the COVID-19 pandemic has added yet another layer to property professionals' arsenal of contingency plans. In addition to implementing new operational best practices, the crisis has prompted building managers to beef up their emergency preparedness plans, re-evaluate their communication protocols and even redefine how they view work-life balance. Industry experts reflect on what the pandemic has taught them so far—from the pain points it exposed to the current policies and procedures it reaffirmed.

Many workplaces have begun allowing employees who wish to return to the office to come in as long as social-distancing procedures can be followed. The looming questions, however, are how will tenants know it is safe to return to their space, and will employees feel comfortable getting on an elevator, sitting in a cubicle or drinking coffee at the building’s outdoor café? While the office is not going away, workspaces are being forced to change. Read more about how building owners and property managers can reduce risk and take measures to help ease tenants’ anxiety about the built environment both now and in the long term.

What role will the office have in a post-pandemic future? Based on CBRE’s recent survey of 126 senior-level real estate executives across the globe, confidence in the physical office remains strong, as close to half (41 percent) of respondents indicated that its importance would decrease only slightly. Among other significant findings, 73 percent of survey respondents say flexible office space will be a part of their long-term real estate strategy. CBRE also makes note of an emerging trend towards a more hybrid workforce, in which employees would work fluidly between remote locations and a physical office.

In recent months, the entire world has become hyper-conscious of the many objects our hands touch throughout the day. Adding to this awareness, property professionals and tenants are actively taking inventory of the “high-touch” areas within an office building as they flesh out re-entry cleaning protocols. While the jury remains out on how exactly the COVID-19 pandemic will inform workplace design and operations, design firm Gensler suggests that increased implementation of touchless technology is to be expected. Thanks to advanced gesture control, facial recognition and voice activation capabilities, touchless workplaces may be the norm in a not-so-distant future.


BOMA Partner Resources

Re-Entry Resources

Improving Occupant Safety Inside Buildings (January 20, 2021)

Commercial Real Estate: What Will Bring the People Back? by Building Cognition's Simon Turner (November 10, 2020)

BOMA International's Getting Back to Work 2.0: Building Re-Entry Best Practices in a COVID-19 Reality (October 23, 2020)

BOMA International's Managing Through Pandemics: Preparing Your Buildings, Tenants and Staff Guide (September 15, 2020)

Green Seal’s Guidelines for Safer COVID-19 Disinfecting (August 24, 2020)

Trane's ASHRAE Recommendations for COVID-19 Engineers Newsletter (June 25, 2020)

BOMA Canada's Pathway Back to Work: Commercial Real Estate, Coronavirus and Re-Entry Guide Version 2 (June 18, 2020)

BOMA International's COVID 19: Preparing for Emergency Evacuations (June 9, 2020)

SAPOA's Re-Entry Guidance Document (June 1, 2020)

BOMA International's Industrial Re-Set: Operational and Management Guidelines for Industrial Properties Amid COVID-19 (May 18, 2020)

CDC's Workplace Reopening Decision Tool (May 15, 2020)

SAPOA's COVID-19 Signage Catalogue (May 15, 2020)

National Institute of Building Sciences' COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall: Preparing for Re-Entering Buildings Overview (May 7, 2020)

BOMA International's Getting Back to Work: Preparing Buildings for Re-Entry Amid COVID-19 (May 6, 2020)

BOMA International's Re-Entry: Important Tips from Your Building Service Providers Webinar in Partnership with BOMA's Cornerstone Partners (April 29, 2020)

CDC's Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (April 28, 2020)

BOMA International's Getting Back to Work: Preparing Buildings for Re-Entry (April 24, 2020)

Cushman & Wakefield's Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace Version 1.0 (April 21, 2020)

Opening Up America Again Guidelines from the White House (April 16, 2020)

CDC and FEMA's Draft Work for America Document (April 14, 2020)

Cushman & Wakefield's 6 Feet Office (April 13, 2020)

BOMA International's COVID-19: Maintaining Building Operations During Shutdown and Preparing for Re-Occupancy (April 8, 2020)

BOMA International's COVID-19: Risk Mitigation, Planning and Preparing for Re-Occupancy (April 8, 2020)

BOMA China's COVID-19 Back to Work Preparation for Commercial Buildings Presentation in Partnership with BOMA Canada (April 8, 2020)

A Discussion of Potential Measures to Support Continuation of Normal Business Activities by Thomas L. Hill and BOMA China (April 8, 2020)

CDC's Guidance for Building Water Systems Before Reopening (April 7, 2020)

Gensler's What Happens When We Return to the Workplace (April 3, 2020)

In-Depth COVID-19 Coverage

The recent approval of vaccines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has raised issues regarding the process of vaccine prioritization. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency developed guidance on essential workers that informed the three-tiered system for vaccine distribution recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The focus has been on health care personnel, front-line essential workers and then other essential workers. BOMA International worked with DHS to develop the specific language identifying workers in commercial buildings as essential employees, classified in Group 1c. Read more about what this means for property professionals in our vaccine distribution information document, which summarizes the vaccine prioritization process at the federal level, how the decision process occurs and who is making the recommendations.

As commercial real estate professionals plan for re-entry, now is a good time to consider whether modifications to janitorial procedures may be needed. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public places. The document provides a general framework based on the following: normal routine cleaning with soap and water; disinfection using disinfectants approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and disinfection using approved alternative methods when EPA-approved items are not available.

Working from home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a “trial-by-fire” experiment for many commercial real estate professionals and tenants alike—an experiment that may continue for some time as many stay-at-home orders remain in place across the U.S. As property professionals brace for more of the same, whether that’s video conferencing from the kitchen table or operating an unusually quiet commercial building, this is the perfect time to take inventory of the lessons we’ve learned in recent weeks. Take it from industry leader Joe Markling, BOMA Fellow, CPM, CRCMP, RPA, who shares that “this is an unusual opportunity for us to re-evaluate our typical routines and plan to make changes going forward,” even when we’re back in our brick-and-mortar offices. Check out Markling's commentary on our current remote work phenomenon.

As we prepare for a phased approach to commercial building re-entry, BOMA International has assembled a task group from across North America to help owners and managers address potential building operations and workforce issues. Getting Back to Work: Preparing Buildings for Re-Entry Amid COVID-19 provides guidance for preparing commercial properties for the safe return of office tenants, additional building personnel, visitors, vendors and contractors, and it identifies other operational and safety procedures and protocols that should be implemented, updated or enhanced as we prepare to live and work in a post-COVID-19 world. The guidance document provides a framework for developing your individual property or portfolio plans.

After months of building tenants and their employees working in the isolation of their own homes, commercial real estate professionals are gearing up for their occupants’ eventual return by exploring operational strategies that might promote health and safety throughout the transition. Among these strategies is Cushman & Wakefield’s 6 Feet Office prototype, which envisions an office where social distancing guidelines continue to be enforced. The conceptual idea was discussed during the firm’s recovery readiness webinar, which accompanied the release of a How-To Guide for tenants and building owners preparing to reopen workplaces as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. The guide focuses on essential areas that include reducing touch points, controlling access and communicating effectively.

What will tenants want in a post-COVID-19 world? A growing body of research by JLL suggests that the modern tenant’s wish list might include these four things: Space design that offers greater dedication, privacy and separation from others; flexible work schedules and locations; hyper-focus on health and safety; and opportunities to collaborate and to concentrate. JLL notes that some of these trends were already emerging prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but owners and managers can expect that they will gain momentum in this new environment.

Shedding light on the topic of re-occupancy is a CBRE briefing titled Reopening the World’s Workplaces. CBRE states that based on experience supporting clients in Asia, reopening commercial establishments is “not straightforward” and “forethought is critical as important activities must be approached in fundamentally new ways.” For instance, businesses and building personnel must prepare for a more discerning occupant base that requires clear, ongoing communication.

U.S. state and local governments have been at the center of the COVID-19 emergency, and BOMA local associations have been hard at work ensuring that policies both slow the spread of the virus and also allow essential services to continue. Most government actions have taken place through executive orders, but a next wave of policy activity will be coming soon as many state legislatures are still in session. Some of this activity may significantly inform commercial real estate operations, especially as governments across the U.S consider plans for reopening businesses. To assist members with tracking any COVID-related state legislation, BOMA International has created a dynamic live report that details all current bills introduced at the state level that directly relate to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many property professionals to review the force majeure clauses in their leases and contracts. Law firm Ballard Spahr LLP has published a white paper and hosted a companion webinar on what triggers force majeure clauses and what actions may be required. The firm’s COVID-19 Resource Center also includes alerts on a variety of issues, as well as other webinars and legislative tracking tools.

In response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020. This historic bill, the third legislative response to COVID-19, provides more than $2 trillion for economic relief to businesses and individuals, as well as much-needed resources to state and local governments. While the bill has sweeping measures for many industries, BOMA International’s advocacy staff focused their efforts on itemizing those measures that may affect your businesses, your employees and your tenants. A comprehensive document detailing these measures can be found here. For more in-depth analysis, click here to listen to BOMA International's April 7, 2020 flash call.

With new COVID-19-related policies and orders being released at a rapid pace at the state and local level, it can be a challenge to stay on top of the latest policy news. The National Governors Association’s coronavirus resource page posts current content concerning each state, as well as a basic overview of the latest efforts by the federal government. Updated each day, the page includes a summary State Action Tracking Chart and lists the states that have adopted emergency declarations, National Guard activations, travel restrictions, limits on gatherings, school closures and non-essential business closures. Users can select a specific state and view a comprehensive, chronological list of actions taken along with a link to that state’s public health coronavirus resource page.

Crisis management professionals at full-service, global law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman have compiled 10 key takeaways that property owners and operators should consider as they plan to confront the coronavirus outbreak. Among other considerations, the article provides advice on assessing risk, as well as guidance for reviewing language in property policies and leases regarding liability management. The firm’s resource page also includes insights on relevant topics such as cybersecurity considerations while working remotely.

The term “social distancing” has gained popularity as governments take increasing measures to control the spread of COVID-19. According to the CDC, social distancing—a strategy for reducing close contact between people—and temporary closures of settings where people gather (including shelter-in-place orders) are two of the most commonly used community nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). As response measures continue to evolve, property professionals should learn more about community NPIs to better understand these efforts and how they might affect building operations.

As concerns regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on businesses continue to grow, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has developed a resource page to aid the private sector as they navigate these challenges. The resources include a Guidance for Employers document that addresses things like how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at work and a Resilience in a Box toolkit that covers basic best practices for business resilience.

For help preventing workplace exposure, evaluating risk and preparing for the possibility of a community outbreak, real estate companies and tenants should refer to the CDC's Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, an in-depth resource that formed the basis for BOMA International’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Checklist. Among other measures, employers are advised to encourage sick employees to stay home by providing flexible sick leave policies.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid spreading or contracting illness is by regularly washing your hands—but if you’re not scrubbing for at least 20 seconds (or two rounds of the “Happy Birthday” song), you’re not taking proper precautions. Make sure that you’re washing your hands the right way by checking out the CDC’s guide to handwashing, and hang these printable fact sheets around your properties and in your offices to help others learn proper handwashing technique.

While hygiene and employee health are already top-of-mind for many employers, it’s also important to consider how your workplace is promoting mental health and emotional well-being. In addition to a wide range of other helpful advice, the WHO website offers guidance on how to cope with the stress of a global health crisis. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, talking to friends and family and relying on credible information sources to avoid undue panic are all effective strategies for stress management. Global employee assistance program provider ComPsych has also released a free webinar titled Coping with Uncertainty About the Coronavirus.

The owners and operators of healthcare facilities and medical office buildings need to be aware of unique prevention methods specific to a healthcare environment. The CDC offers guidance and resources for these purposes. For example, healthcare real estate professionals should ensure their facilities are posting hygiene and etiquette signage in strategic places; allocating alternate waiting and care areas for patients with respiratory symptoms; and preparing their telecommunication systems for an increase in telemedicine.

Additional Resources