BOMA International’s Coronavirus Resource Center

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, BOMA International is actively working to provide commercial real estate professionals with credible information on how to mitigate the potential health and business impacts. Based on information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BOMA International has released a series of guidance documents to help property professionals address this public health crisis.

BOMA International continues to monitor the latest COVID-19 developments, and additional resources are being posted regularly to this webpage (www.boma.org/coronavirus). 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.

What's New

 
BOMA International's Guidance for Emergency Evacuations

As a result of COVID-19, building owners and managers are implementing new office procedures and protocols to promote social distancing and exposure prevention. As these protocols are developed, property professionals should consider how to handle mandatory fire drill requirements and emergency or fire alarm evacuations. The information in BOMA International’s latest guidance document, COVID-19: Preparing for Emergency Evacuations, can be used to help guide these discussions and offers considerations for building owners and managers as they review and update their evacuation procedures.


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



Guidance Document #5  
Industrial Re-Set: Operational and
Management Guidelines for
Industrial Properties
Amid COVID-19
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

Webinars

BOMA Partner Resources

Re-Entry Resources

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

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