Members have asked PBA to provide guidance on how to file a successful application for a waiver from Governor Wolf’s list of nonlife-sustaining businesses. The language provided was offered to PBA by a builder whose application was successful. We are offering this language only as a resource. We still do not know how and why the DCED chooses to approve some applications and reject others. So, we cannot guarantee that this language will work for you. We are making it available only with the assurance that it has worked for others.
How does it meet life-sustaining definition? (justification)
A home provides Pennsylvania residents a safe place to shelter in place from COVID-19. Many of our customers have new homes that are days and weeks from final completion or a complete home that they are waiting on final settlement (30-45 days) to move in. Purchasing a new home is often one of the largest financial commitments a person makes in their life. It’s a dream that they commit their personal financial resources for up to 30 years to achieve.
Many customers have reached out to us in the last few days asking how they will be impacted, knowing they are weeks from moving in to their new home. We’d ask you to consider allowing <Your Company> to continue building safe places in a safe manor for Pennsylvania residences to shelter from COVID-19.
Does the business have a plan to meet CDC recommended guidelines to maintain employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. <Your Company> immediately made decisions affecting all employees to protect their health from COVID-19. Our business is made up of three core areas: Sales, Office and Construction. Each area has implemented a different policy to best protect them in their role.
Sales - All model home sales offices closed officially as of Friday, 3/20/2020 to comply with the Governors Order. They will continue to work remotely from their home offices to conduct work with customers. They will use telephone and software tools to communicate remotely. If a showing of a new home is scheduled with a customer, the sales person will unlock the home and remain outside in their car as the customer views the home. The customer is asked to wear gloves and not to touch surfaces with in the home. No more than one showing is allowed at a time to provide social distancing. Follow-up communication will occur remotely via electronic communication. All documentation including contracts will be signed electronically.
Corporate – Our physical office in <Your Location> is closed in compliance with the Governors Order. Those who have access and the ability to work from home started working from home as of Tuesday, 3/17/2020 to protect our employee’s safety. The few remaining employees were spread out throughout the building to best implement social distancing. The office is being cleaned twice during the day with a Clorox solution to wipe down commonly touched surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, keyboards, countertops, table surfaces and filing cabinet handles, etc. in both individual offices as well as shared spaces. Hand washing was highly recommended and hand sanitizer was placed in common areas. Any employee thought to be sick was asked not to come in to the office and employees returning from international travel are not permitted to return work.
Construction – New home construction typically involves a small crew of less than four construction workers and many one or two person crews conduct most of the work. They are commonly related individuals such as brothers, cousins or a father and son team. <Your Company> immediately implemented a safety policy in that only one trade partner will be allowed in a home at a time. This provided social distancing and limited workers being exposed to each other. The house will be locked to prevent entry from others and signage is placed on the front door to restrict access. Tools will not be shared between employees as they are required to provide their own individual tools. They wear the proper PPE for the task as necessary, such as gloves to prevent germs from spreading by touching surfaces. Any employee suspected to be sick will be asked to stay home.
How many employees would be in the company’s office or physical location in order to do the critical work?
No more than 2 at any given time. Apart from employees performing life-sustaining activities at the corporate office (and thus do not require exemption), one employee is necessary to oversee construction activities (by subcontractors) at each residential construction site, and from time to time a second employee is necessary to perform certain construction and clean up tasks that can be performed individually. Construction activity by subcontractors will be performed safely as described above. Also as explained above, all sales activities can be performed remotely and without any physical interaction with home buyers.