A year ago, Downtown Los Angeles was the nucleus of Southern California’s economy, home to a rapidly-growing cluster of businesses, shopping centers and apartment complexes. Since 1999, downtown had attracted billions of dollars in real estate investment and construction, making it one of the most rapidly-growing areas in the state.
What was once a bustling area of opportunity has been virtually deserted for a year, with only a small fraction of businesses and residents remaining. However, with the slow ebbing of daily cases and the cautious optimism that comes via the vaccine rollout, there is a small budding of normalcy and prosperity returning this spring. For the economy to ﬂourish once again, business and property owners must meet an entirely new standard for safe and healthy workplace environments.
As the owner and president of Allied Restoration, Southern California’s leading decontamination and restoration business, I’ve seen many business owners and tenants in this area come to us, asking how they can reopen safely and remain open.
My answer is simple: be proactive.
If California wants any chance of recovering, commercial owners and tenants must take preventative action to maintain the safety and sanitization protocols necessary to keep COVID-19 at bay. This is not just in protecting against the spread of any virus; this is instilling conﬁdence and peace of mind in your work-force, clients, customers and consumers.
The CDC recommends a number of practices to effectively keep your properties safe. Below are some of my easy-to-follow suggestions:
If possible, limit your personnel on premises. With Zoom and other technologies that have eased the transition to working from home, instilling a rotational work schedule will allow fewer opportunities for the virus to travel in close quarters. Consider making open, shared working environments a thing of the past by implementing newer modular separators for protected work spaces. Coupling these methods with temperature screenings and health questionnaires upon entering the building will serve as the ﬁrst line of defense from unknowing carriers of the virus.
Move the Air
In addition to limiting capacity, change your building’s working conditions. As a commercial developer, be mindful of how often the air is getting changed out per oﬃce, per ﬂoor. Air should change out at least three to six times per hour per room; opening 12 to 20 feet of windows is the easiest way to do this. If possible, you might also want to consider placing fans in each oﬃce or humidiﬁers to increase the moisture in the air, which reduces the virus’s ability to travel in the air.
Invest in Tech
Investing in technologies that help maintain and prevent future outbreaks in your facility like electrostatic disinfectant sprayers that cover large areas with small items like a bookshelf or desk, HEPA air puriﬁers that ﬁlter virus particles and allergens and, lastly, ozone generators, but be advised: these are not to be used in inhabited areas.
Don’t Wait; Decontaminate
Above all, invest in enhanced cleaning methods and services. Allied Restoration provides OSHA-certiﬁed cleaning and disinfecting for businesses that have had an on-site exposure to COVID-19. Make sure your oﬃce manager or maintenance staff uses cleaning products listed on EPA List N (Disinfectants for coronavirus/COVID-19), including sanitizer that includes at least 60% ethanol or ethyl alcohol. Encourage employees to disinfect their hands before, during and after any interaction with people outside their oﬃce/cubical space.
As a commercial owner or lessee, be mindful of the conditions of your building. For California’s long-term pandemic recovery, these practices must become the new normal. Otherwise, rapid deurbanization could occur and destroy our cities and job opportunities.
Allied Restoration is currently offering free consultation for businesses.