The following was written by various P&A team members:
Dear Clients, Business Associates & Friends,
As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to create widespread and considerable challenges for individuals, communities and businesses worldwide, we wanted to share with you our thoughts and what we hope will be helpful information specific to our industry.
We have built a successful firm by providing the greatest level of customer service possible, and it is our hope to continue to provide the same expeditious and diligent service and attention during these difficult times. Obviously, the health of our team, clients and friends is foremost in our minds, and we intend to actively monitor bulletins and notices from all federal, state and local authorities relative to best practices for dealing with the virus. Nevertheless, we are confident that, regardless of the directives aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, we will meet our clients’ needs by utilizing our technological resources to communicate and deliver work product with appropriate distance, even in the event of the interruption of personal interaction.
In light of the above, here is some information on our plan, and recommendations for clients:
What We Are Doing:
• We will continue to provide uninterrupted service to prevent any delay in the handling of matters. Fortunately, much of our business can and will likely be accomplished by telephonic, electronic and remote means; accordingly, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to rapidly respond to client concerns.
• We plan to remain accessible and open pending government directives to the contrary. While in the office, we are following best practices including implementing an increased cleaning/sanitizing protocol, abiding by “social distancing” guidelines and limiting person-to-person contact.
• We are monitoring real-time guidance from health and government agencies and will provide updates as needed to keep our clients and partners informed of our operations.
Condominium and Community Association Guidance:
The spread of the COVID-19 virus has impacted community associations just as it has individuals, businesses and government throughout the country. We expect the upcoming weeks will be very challenging in many ways, but we hope that by taking appropriate precautions, we can all limit the impact this will have.
In light of the recent announcement from Governor Baker and guidance from the CDC, we advise all of our community association clients to:
• postpone spring annual meetings and all upcoming social gatherings of any kind;
• add hand sanitizer stations in common areas;
• increase the frequency and intensity of common-area cleaning (especially in high traffic areas – elevators, entry points, etc.); and
• close or consider restricting access to common facilities (clubhouses, etc.) for any non-essential purposes.
We recognize that this may be disruptive and undesirable for a number of reasons: social events may be cancelled, budgets may not be reviewed, elections may be delayed, etc.; however, the health of community residents must be the primary focus at this time.
Community Associations Institute has been actively addressing issues facing community associations during this time and we strongly encourage clients to avail themselves of these resources: https://www.caionline.org/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx. We are available to provide specific guidance for association concerns, and encourage clients to contact Charlie Perkins or Scott Eriksen with any questions.
Finally, we note that there is pending legislation which could potentially delay or halt foreclosure efforts. We will monitor how any executive action or legislation, if passed, impacts the needs of our community association clients.
Real Estate Closings:
Perkins & Anctil, following the advice of the American Land Title Association, has developed protocols to ensure that we can continue to conduct healthy and safe closings. These measures include placing hand sanitizer in all shared spaces, using extra disinfectant and requiring employees and/or clients who feel ill to stay home. Below are operational procedures we have implemented for real estate closings:
• Guests are encouraged to use hand sanitizer and/or wash hands upon arrival at our office.
• Any guest who exhibits symptoms that may be similar to coronavirus symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) must notify staff upon arrival and we will escort them out of common areas into a private closing room.
• After each closing, the chairs, table and door handle will be wiped down with disinfecting wipes or bleach solution.
• All pens, paper, extra reading glasses and other items normally found on the closing tables will be removed and new pens will be distributed to each closing participant.
• All reading materials, ceramic mugs and other re-usable items have been removed.
• Hand sanitizer is being provided in closing spaces. If none is available, employees and visitors are encouraged to wash their hands before and after any closing or other meeting.
• Cleaning personnel are using appropriate germ-killing solutions when cleaning office areas after-hours.
• When possible, we will stay approximately six feet from others.
• We are investing in technology solutions that allow employees to work from remote locations, assuring production and service continuity.
Going forward we will continue to take a common sense approach to protect all employees and visitors to our office. It is our hope that these procedures and protocols should reduce the risk of infection and will provide a safe environment for everyone.
We wish everyone good health and safety.