March 30, 2020:
March 26, 2020:
NWHPBA Retail Members
Under the “essential business” lists in both Washington and Idaho, you are considered an “essential service” or business because you sell home appliances and you service appliances in homes and businesses (particularly in helping to keep those appliances working in a safe manner). So, you CAN stay open. And you can certainly stay open for all service-related work. However, you do need to make sure you meet the requirements for social distancing — see the points & the full document below from one of our Board Members, Daniel Hammer, on things you should be doing to keep your employees and customers safe:
· Once we determined we were essential we looked into whether there was anything else we had to do to keep our doors open. It turns out that it’s not enough to be essential, you must also do the following:
· Write a social distancing, illness monitoring, and cleaning/sanitizing plan explaining and mandating the following
· Nominating an employee to be the social distancing and sanitation officer. Their job is to ensure the following items are adhered to.
· 6 feet of required distance between employees and between employees and customers at all times.
· This may require adjusting staff levels and/or schedules to meet the 6 feet of separation. We’ve adjusted schedules to ensure we have a small enough number of employees that we can maintain required distances.
· Employees may not congregate in groups with each other or with customers.
· Daily cleaning and disinfecting of all shared surfaces such as desks, counters, computers, phones, door handles, etc. A log must be created and filled out each day to ensure this is done. We made a log for each area of the store (showroom, back offices, breakroom, warehouse, installation department, service department, etc)
· Daily check in with each employee to ensure that they are not showing symptoms of illness. Specifically, it must be verified that they do not have a temperature and that they do not have respiratory symptoms. If any employee reports either they must be sent home. A log must be created and filled out each day to ensure this is done. We made a log for each department and placed the responsibility on the managers to fill it out with their staff each day.
· Signs up in the showroom for customers letting them know that social distancing is required while on the premises and that if they are sick they must not enter and to go home.
MARCH 24, 2020:
As we are in unprecedented times, NWHPBA wants to ensure we are keeping our members and community up-to-date with all relevant information. Below you will find retailer specific information, followed by state specific information that will be helpful to your business as well as national information.
NWHPBA Retail Members
Even though service of our products and construction related installs are clearly defined as “essential services” under the “Stay at Home” orders we’ve seen so far, there is confusion regarding retail sales.
We are attempting to get clarification on this but here are some considerations that may help:
If you have a retail store and your state is under a “lock down” or “stay at home order” (i.e. Washington State), the following is may apply:
- Close your retail shop or do not let more than one member of the public inside at a time (remember, they will have to have an essential purpose for being there or risk being fined so please promote online sales for their protection). Keep a bare minimum work force on hand and let as many people as possible work from home.
- Provide sales via online website or through telephone or other technology (using pictures to help people shop)
- Do curbside pick up or delivery only of product to people’s homes or businesses — ensure the safety of your employees and customers while doing this by disinfecting surfaces, washing hands and maintaining social distancing of 6 feet or more.
If your state is NOT under a lock down or stay at home order:
- You should be able to keep your store open but minimize the number of people inside to ensure the adequate “social distancing” required by the CDC order (minimum of 6 feet apart).
- Ensure more than adequate disinfecting of surfaces touched by both customers and employees
- Emphasize curbside pick up, delivery and online options to help minimize exposure for both customers and employees.
For more information and details on your state — particularly for how to deal with employees who cannot or do not come to work, please go to your state’s specific website link below:
Below is the list of essential businesses under the Governor’s new Stay At Home Proclamation. According to this, with exemptions for workers who work with wood products, the energy exemptions for repair of leaks and gas appliances AND the construction exemptions on page 11, it looks like you should be able to keep your businesses open — service, install (since housing construction still allowed) and repair side in addition to fuel sales if you do that. “Home appliance” retailers are also considered essential on page 11.
In addition, in order to be completely compliant, you need to register at this link below and make sure you have a safety plan for your employees who will be working.
Here is the information to register as an essential business:
- WASHINGTON Essential Business List
- COVID-19 Jobsite Specific Workplan
- Washington COVID-19 Jobsite Practices
- Employment Security Department:
- On March 9, 2020, the Department filed emergency rulesin order to provide support to employees and employers impacted by the COVID-19 virus across the state.
- The Department is issuing an additionalemergency rule extending standby status from four or eight weeks to twelve weeks in an effort to support the economic impacts of COVID-19. More information regarding the Department’s COVID-19 response is available on our COVID-19 web page.
- For more information on all of our rulemaking activities, please visit our agency rulemaking homepage.
Washington Home Builder Specific:
- Under the Order “construction workers who support … construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction)” are listed as an “essential service.”
- Based upon this language, homebuilders and remodelers may continue with operations while the stay-at-home order is in effect.
- BIAW recommends, all companies that plan to continue to operate jobsites add these hygiene precautions to the usual safety requirements for workers:
- Continue social distancing of six feet
- Wash hands frequently and do not touch your face
- Wear gloves on jobsite
- Utilize jobsite best practices and 10-Point Plan for Building a Safer Job Site documents
- Employers should also provide employees with a letter with your company name, contact, and statement that they are your employee working on your construction jobsite. Workers should always have the letter and their employee identification on them when commuting to and from jobsites.
- Businesses not included in the list of essential services are required to have employees work remotely.
- For additional resources on COVID-19, please visitBIAW’s resource page »
- Idaho Official Resources for COVID-19
- Help for Idaho Small Business Affected by COVID-19
- Idaho Governor Brad Little issued an isolation order for Blaine County, Idaho on March 20, but it exempts business operation.
- The State of Idaho adopted federal guidance to prevent coronavirus spread, though not mandating the closure of schools or other establishments.
- The City of Boise has closed all city facilities to the public and recommends the cancellation of any events of 50 or more people.
- Alaska Department of Health and Social Services for COVID-19
- International and Interstate Travel, Order for Self Quarantine
- Alaska Critical Workforce Infrastructure
- Travel Declaration Form
- Traveler Handout
- Governor Dunleavy also announced the formation of Alaska Economic Stabilization Team, to be led by former Governor Sean Parnell and former Senator Mark Begich.
- Anchorage Mayor Berkowitz limited public transportation capacity to nine riders at a time and announces public transportation will be provided free of charge.
- Berkowitz has also banned mass events of over 50 people, though the order specifically exempts day-to-day business operations.
- Montana DPHHS Coronavirus COVID-19 Info
- Governor Bullock directs closure of K-12 public schools from Mar. 16 to Mar. 27.
- Recommended limits on mass gatherings more than 50 people, but no formal restrictions.
United States of America:
- HPBA is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers. They have published information that is targeted to manufacturers and small businesses that you may find useful, including material from CDC, OSHA, the Small Business Administration (including low-interest disaster loans to help small businesses recover) and the Department of Homeland Security. Please find that information here:https://www.nam.org/coronavirus/.
- Congress is attempting to move quickly on multiple legislative responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Last week, the President enacted H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Among other things, the legislation does the following:
- Tax Credits for Employers. An employer will receive a quarterly 100% refundable payroll tax credit for the qualified family leave wages paid by the employer. In calculating the credit, the amount of qualified family leave wages taken into account with respect to any individual shall not exceed $200 a day and $10,000 in the aggregate for all calendar quarters.
- Employers will receive a quarterly 100 percent refundable credit against the 6.2 percent and 1.45 percent payroll taxes for qualified sick leave wages paid to employees.
- Employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected leave if the employee: (1) is complying with a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to corona virus exposure or symptoms, and cannot work from home; (2) is caring for an at-risk family member who is quarantining; or (3) is caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care has been closed due to public health emergency. However, the first 14 days of the leave may be unpaid.
A third package of relief legislation failed to pass a procedural hurdle in the Senate last night. Congressional leadership are meeting today to iron out differences and hope to vote on the package imminently. This package contains general small business relief and is not industry-specific. There may be an opportunity to add our industry-specific language about Step 1 stoves in a potential fourth package. We will send another update email after this third package is enacted.
MARCH 20, 2020
I hope you are well. We have received some excellent resources that we would like to share with membership. It is our hope to keep you informed as we continue to work through the challenges COVID 19 presents our profession.
- COVID-19 Getting Your Business Ready for Coronavirus Webinar
- COVID-19 Factsheet If Sick
- COVID-19 Factsheet
- Employment Security Infographic
- L&I Coronavirus Hazard Alert
- OSHA Guidelines For Preparing Workspace
MARCH 18, 2020:
Coronavirus COVID-19 Impacts:
HPBA is aware of the impact of coronavirus closures on retailers, especially those who may still have Step 1 products in stock. As business (and even state governments) are limiting commercial operating hours, HPBA will be reaching out to Congress to urge relief due to these exceptional circumstances. It may be possible to get additional time for product sell-through, but we need your immediate help in order to do so.
What You Need to Do
Send an email to Rachel Feinstein ( Feinstein@hpba.org ) by 3:00 pm EDT Thursday, March 19 with the following information:
- How many Step 1 stoves you have left
- Store location(s)
- How many employees you have
- What plans/sales have been disrupted
Unless and until any extension is passed, the legal deadline remains May 15, 2020.