As stated in a previous client alert, “it is imperative that real estate owners and operators stay informed about the news pertaining to COVID-19.”
On April 5, 2020, Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, citing among other things her authority to institute control measures appropriate to protect the public from the spread of infectious disease, issued an order applying to certain building owners in Pennsylvania that expanded cleaning and disinfecting requirements and related maintenance and security obligations (called the “Cleaning Order”). The Cleaning Order applies to owners of buildings of at least 50,000 square feet used for commercial, industrial or other enterprises, including but not limited to facilities for warehouses, manufacturing, commercial offices, airports, grocery stores, universities, colleges, government, hotels, and residential buildings with at least 50 units.
The Cleaning Order applies to those cases in which a business is authorized to maintain in-person operations pursuant to the Orders by the Governor and Secretary of Health on March 19, 2020, as amended, including those businesses operating pursuant to exemptions from those Orders.
The Cleaning Order states that building owners shall follow the following cleaning protocols in areas where operations are conducted:
The Cleaning Order is likely to cause confusion, and indeed may escalate to problems achieving compliance. Property owners are not always responsible for maintaining all or even portions of leased premises, with the responsibility often falling to tenants. Building owners will need to consider how they will address the terms of this Cleaning Order.
The Order is effective as of 12:01 a.m., April 6, 2020.
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.