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Guidance to Dealing with the Coronavirus - NAA

COVID-19 , Industry ,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the outbreak of a novel (meaning new) coronavirus (COVID-19), which was first detected in Wuhan City, China, and has since spread to 150 additional countries. With 4,226 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the United States (through March 17, 2020), the National Apartment Association (NAA) believes it prudent for its members and affiliates to be prepared for incidents involving COVID-19 should they occur.

NAA understands that affiliates, members and residents may have concerns about how apartment communities should address the virus and, in an effort to offer preliminary guidance and information to assist with preparations, we have compiled the following material from official sources.

It is important to recognize that NAA, its affiliates and individual members are not health care professionals. The CDC and other qualified health officials should continue to be the primary source of current information and guidance. NAA is offering general, precautionary guidance from officials, and also adding some common-sense guidelines for our industry in the interest of promoting a proper amount of caution at this time.

Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, NAA will monitor developments and will continue efforts to secure guidance specific to the operation of rental housing from health officials. Additionally, NAA will update our website  with new information as it becomes available.

Latest News

Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Suspends REAC Inspections.
HUD's PIH released a memo addressing the suspension of REAC Inspections and other programmatic information.

Small Business Administration Will Provide Disaster Assistance Loans
SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Further resources can be found here and on SBA's websites: www.SBA.gov/coronavirus and www.SBA.gov/disaster.

DOL Announces New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities
DOL announced new guidance outlining flexilibilites that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Department of Energy Coronavirus Resources
DOE is coordinating closely with the White House and its interagency partners in the unified response to the Coronavirus. DOE leadership will be issuing further guidance as the situation evolves.

Operational Best Practices

Webinar

Coronavirus Outbreak: What Real Estate Managers Need to Know

NAA and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) hosted managers from both rental housing and commercial management for a live panel discussion on addressing the spread of COVID-19 and developing policies and procedures around the coronavirus.

Resources for Teleworking

Federal, State and Local Legal and Regulatory Updates

Learn more on the COVID-19 Related Policy Concerns page.

Economic Impact

Weekly updates on economic data releases, forecasts and impacts of the coronavirus on the national economy.

Media Guidance

NAA recommends that incoming media requests be directed to CDC and/or local health officials, who are better qualified to answer their questions at this time. You don’t want to be at risk with liability concerns. 

Ensure your office has proper contact information of the local health authority and/or the best CDC resources on hand for handling queries from local stakeholders.

NAA recommends a holding statement be developed. An example: "We appreciate your call. It is wise for everyone to remain current and follow the most recent guidance provided by health officials. That is why we request that you direct your question to [Local Health Official] or the CDC, who are on top of this situation."

Other Key Messages to Consider

NAA recommends that guidance from CDC and other officials be treated seriously. At present, CDC prevention information includes:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces.

NAA encourages all members and affiliates to monitor the situation and stay current with advice from CDC and public health officials.

Potential Questions from Residents/Media

Q: If someone in an apartment community is diagnosed with COVID-19, will other residents become infected? What are the real risks?

A: According to the CDC, “there is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.” We encourage you to visit the CDC website for up-to-date information and safety precaution tips and we will provide new information as it becomes available. 

Q: [In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19] Did the building owner and property management team collaborate with CDC to disinfect an apartment and any other parts of the building? What was done to isolate the virus to the patient’s apartment? How was the patient’s apartment cleaned and sanitized? How did the building owner and manager address sanitizing the public spaces of the building that the patient may have come in contact with? Is my apartment safe? I live on the same floor as he did – am I in danger of contracting COVID-19?

A: We understand your concerns. Your questions are best handled by the local health officials and the CDC. We are cooperating fully with CDC/local public health guidance and are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all residents. We encourage you to visit the CDC website for updated information and safety precaution tips.

Resources

Downloadable Resources From CDC and EPA

Communications from HUD

Resources from NAA’s Supplier Partners

Disclaimer: The following resources are produced by NAA supplier partners. The materials and information referenced are provided for general and informational purposes only. They are not offered as, and do not constitute, legal advice or legal opinions.

This information is subject to change. If you are involved in a COVID-19 case with a resident, please contact NAA to apprise us so that we may provide further guidance.