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Jeff Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in community and condominium associations. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

General Guidelines for Working with Customers and Staff during the COVID‐19 PandemicBasic Precautions

  • Keep business units separate whenever possible
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Avoid shaking hands, hugging or other close contact
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue or your elbow if no tissue is available
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning/disinfecting
  • Avoid gatherings of more than three people at work and maintain social distancing (stay up to date with CDC guidelines)
  • Avoid face to face meetings; conduct web based meetings whenever possible

 

Basic Staff Guidelines

  • Communicate to employees why the day‐to‐day products and/or services you provide are essential
  • Communicate and reinforce daily safety protocols
  • Allow employees to stay home if they are uncomfortable working and permit the use of paid time‐off, if available
  • Post the FFCRA notice at the workplace, or send via email or regular mail to remote employees

 

Landscape Customers

  • Obtain written confirmation from your customers allowing you to continue working on their property
  • Communicate, as accurately as possible, the times you plan to be on their property
  • Inform clients of the safety protocols your company has in place, including but not limited to the proximity rule of 6 feet (continue to monitor and follow up to date CDC guidelines)
  • Designate one point of onsite contact (e.g., the foreman) and ask your customers not to approach any other workers
  • Be prepared to stop work if a customer expresses any health or safety concerns

 

Field Staff and Supervisors

  • Train designated personnel (e.g., foreman) to answer health and safety questions from the public clearly and concisely
  • In instances where employees will be on one job site all day, encourage meeting on‐site rather than at the shop
  • When crews must report to the shop, stagger start times to maintain social distancing
  • Operate with the minimum number of employees necessary on any site
  • Do not rotate crew members to minimize interaction
  • Limit the number of crew members per truck and assign one truck that is not shared with other crews
  • If employee wishes to drive his personal vehicle to the jobsite, the personal auto minimum limit requirement is 100,000/300,000 and must provide proof of insurance (copy of insurance declaration page)
  • The use of a personal vehicle for work will require screening of their MVR and be determined an eligible driver
  • Make certain that all vehicles are well ventilated and sanitized at the end of each day
  • Always wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and do not share
  • Store PPE in clear plastic bags and sanitize at the end of each day
  • If crew members must work in proximity to one another for heavy lifting or similar tasks, they should wear facemasks and disposable gloves
  • Being designated an essential business is a privilege, so represent your company and the industry in a professional and compassionate way as you continue to provide much‐needed products and/or services

 

Office and Sales Staff

  • Restrict the use of restroom facilities to office personnel only and disinfect surfaces
  • Disinfect personal workspace, including phones, keyboards and desktops daily
  • Disinfect doorknobs, push bars and cabinet pulls daily
  • Disinfect steering wheels, dashboards and car door handles daily
  • Operate with the minimum number of employees onsite and allow remote working when appropriate

What You Need to Know About the Look-back Measurement Method and COVID-19The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees or possibly pay a penalty. This employer mandate is also known as the “employer shared responsibility” or “pay or play” rules.

ALEs can use one of two methods to determine whether employees are full time under the employer shared responsibility rules:

  • The monthly measurement method determines full-time status for each calendar month based on the employee’s hours of service in that month.
  • The look-back measurement method determines full-time status for a longer period of time based on average hours of service during a prior period.

 

The evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused some confusion and uncertainty in applying the look-back measurement method during periods of layoff, furlough, and COVID-19 related periods of paid and unpaid leave.

This ACA Compliance Bulletin provides information for employers regarding how the look-back measurement method applies to COVID-19 related absences.

Download the Compliance Update

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed. If you have questions, please reach out to your Account Manager.Compliance Bulletin – Look Back Measurement

On March 27, 2020, the President signed a $2 trillion stimulus package (CARES Act) that included $349 billion for new, partially forgivable small business loans to cover certain payroll costs, mortgage interests, rents and utilities payments. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans will charge interest at no more than 4% and will be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). As the program’s name implies, PPP Loans are designed to provide cash to small businesses, including sole proprietors and independent contractors. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued the following guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.

Small Business Guide to Emergency Loans


We have compiled the highlights of this new program below and recommend consulting with your legal and/or financial advisers regarding this matter.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans for Small Businesses

  • This new program provides 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance to small employers, including sole proprietors and independent contractors. Employers who maintain their payroll can get the loan forgiven for the portion of the loan that is used for payroll, rent, and utilities.
  • Businesses can borrow 2.5 times what their average monthly payroll was during the period of 2/15/20 to 12/31/20. While your business can spend your loan on any expenses, it will only be forgiven later if you spend 75% of it on payroll and 25% of it on the other approved items during the 8-weeks after you receive the loan. Any portion of your loan that is not forgiven will be converted to a loan that has a .5% interest rate and must be repaid within 2 years.
  • Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying this Friday, April 3rd. Self-employed and independent contractors can begin applying Friday, April 10th.
  • These new Paycheck Protection Program loans will be handled through private banks and lenders. If you are interested in applying for a PPP loan, you should contact your local banker to ask if they are approved to handle PPP loans. If your bank is an authorized 7a lender, you will be able to apply for these loans through them.

Download the PPP Factsheet

Download the PPP Application


Additional Loan Tools

Do you qualify as a small business?

Here is the Small Business Administrations guide to size standards. This is a quick reference for quickly checking eligibility. We recommend also reviewing the SBA guidelines for eligibility.

Small Business Administration Loan Application

For more details, visit the U.S. Treasury Department’s new website at home.treasury.gov/cares.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Gulfshore Insurance Client Advisor who can direct you to the appropriate resources.

Jobsite Safety and Recordkeeping Guidance During CoronavirusThe Department of Homeland Security considers construction an “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” However, all safety measures that can be taken, should be taken. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has taken the initiative and put together a detailed plan that outlines the steps that every employer and employee can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The plan describes how to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus, protective measures to be taken on the job site, personal protective equipment and work practice controls to be used, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and OSHA guidance on what to do if a worker becomes sick, including record-keeping requirements.

National Association of Home Builders COVID-19 Plan:

 

These resources are also available in Spanish, here.

Gulfshore Insurance is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures and resources to help manage ongoing operations.