By: Steven M. Williams
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Rachel Levine, MD, has issued an order that was effective as of 12:01 AM on April 6, 2020 imposing specific cleaning protocols on certain property owners. The order applies to owners of buildings containing at least 50,000 square feet that are used for commercial, industrial or other enterprises, as well as residential buildings with at least 50 units (a “covered landlord”), including the common areas in these buildings. While not clear in the Order, it appears that the common areas in communities that have buildings with at least 50 residential units also fall under the order.
The order requires that covered landlords do each of the following:
- Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely in accordance with CDC guidelines, in spaces that are accessible to tenants, customers, or other individuals
- Maintain cleaning protocols that existed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak
- Ensure that there are a sufficient number of employees to perform these cleaning functions effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of tenants, customers, and employees
- Ensure that there are a sufficient number of security employees to control access, maintain order, and enforce social distancing (at least 6 feet) in communities where such security employees are otherwise responsible for such enforcement
In issuing the order, Secretary Levine observed that regular cleaning, disinfecting, and maintaining social distancing are vital to protecting the public from COVID-19. Covered landlords who do not exercise cleaning protocols as directed by Secretary Levine should immediately put such protocols into place. Failure to do so can result in fines being issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and/or the Department undertaking the work and charging to the owner all costs incurred in so doing.
If you have questions about compliance with the Secretary’s cleaning protocols, please contact Steven Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author:
Steven Williams provides a full range of legal services to landlords, property managers, and other housing providers. He assists clients in avoiding and resolving legal problems and positioning themselves to maximize the success of their businesses. Steve can be reached at 717.234.5530 or email@example.com.