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Community associations are seeing a surge in unit owners and residents who have confirmed cases of COVID-19. The majority of these infected individuals are prescribed at home “self-quarantine.” As an association, there are proactive steps that should be taken before there are any known cases in your association, as well as after you have a confirmed case present. As always, it is important to comply with recommendations from the CDC and other government organizations.

Proactive Steps:

Sanitation and Use of Common Area Amenities:

  • Conduct extensive cleaning, disinfecting, or wiping down of common areas and common area surfaces
  • Postpone or cancel all community events and meetings
  • Close common areas and amenities, such as gyms, clubhouses, and pools
  • Install hand sanitizer dispensers or wipes in common areas for owner and guest use
  • Recommend residents restrict guests to only those who are essential

 

Communication:

  • Use caution in communicating the board or association’s responsibility to keep sick people out. Rather, the association is taking proactive, precautionary measures, with the best interest of the health of unit owners and residents.
  • Consult legal counsel in communicating a general disclosure that the association and board members are not responsible for the health of individual unit owners and that all unit owners should be practicing the recommendations of CDC, Federal, State and Local government.
  • Communicate all recommendations and board decisions clearly to unit owners and residents. Utilize e-bulletins, website, newsletters and more.

 

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within your association:

  • Contact your association legal counsel immediately
  • Instruct your legal counsel and board to draft communication notifying residents (in drafting notification, legal counsel will navigate potential privacy and HIPPA laws and other legal risks associated with this notification process)

 

As an insurer of more than 700 Community Associations, Gulfshore Insurance is here to guide and assist you through these uncharted waters and unprecedented times. Please call or email us with your specific questions.

Click below for additional COVID-19 information and resources from the Community Association Institute.

 

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.

To assist in accessing care in light of COVID-19, your medical provider, Florida Blue, is providing employers a special COVID-19 opportunity to enroll employees who previously did not enroll in coverage. This opportunity is limited to those employees who previously did not elect coverage for themselves (spouses or children) or waived coverage.

The special enrollment opportunity is from April 1, 2020 through April 15, 2020, with an effective date of April 1. Dependents, such as spouses and children, can be added if they are enrolled in the same coverage or benefit option as the employee.

If you have employees that have inquired whether or not they can enroll now for coverage, this may be an option. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you would like more information. We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

 

The 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.

Beginning April 1, 2020, many employers must provide eligible employees with paid leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. However, small businesses may qualify for an exemption to certain leave requirements. Here are the highlights from the DOL:

  • An employer must have fewer than 50 employees and the leave must be needed due to a school closing or childcare unavailability.
  • An employer must also determine that the leave would put its business at risk. The DOL has provided guidance on this requirement.
  • According to the DOL, there are three ways for determining whether the leave jeopardizes a business.

 

Small employers should review the DOL’s guidance to determine whether they would qualify for an exemption for the paid leave requirements.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.