By Michael Copp, Executive Vice President
Many of the personal hygiene and medical protocols needed to ultimately eradicate this disease takes for granted the availability the heating and cooling of water, and maintaining healthy temperatures and humidity of controlled air. Most states designated PHCC plumbing and HVAC contractors as providing “essential services” and our members as a vital part of a community of care that dates back before Vitruvius’ time (c. 80–70 BC – after c. 15 BC) when the circumference of the earth was estimated in paces. In his book, The Ten Books on Architecture, Vitruvius wrote about the impact of wind and water on healthy dwellings and the need for balance between four elements composed of in our bodies that include heat, moisture, the earthy, and air. The nation needs our PHCC members more than ever as it debates when and how to reopen the economy in a way that revives businesses without reigniting coronavirus illnesses. The plumbing and HVAC industry truly provides a practical means of protecting public health and safety as the country slowly reopens and reengages about potential infrastructure spending under the imminent ‘CARES 2 Act’.
The White House and CDC produced guidelines driven by public health officials that entail three phases for employers assuming that ‘gating’ requirements are met: (Retrieved from the World Wide Web on April 20, 2020 here).
Phase 1: “Continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations. If possible, RETURN TO WORK IN PHASES. Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols. Minimize NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel. Strongly consider SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS for personnel who are members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION.” Vulnerable Population is defined as “elderly individuals and individuals with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy.”
Phase 2: “Continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations. Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce moderate social distancing protocols. Strongly consider SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS for personnel who are members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION.”
Phase 3: “Resume UNRESTRICTED STAFFING of worksites.”
The following recommendations are offered when reopening offices:
- “Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:
- Social distancing and protective equipment
- Temperature checks
- Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
- Business travel
- Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
- Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following employee COVID+ test.”
PHCC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chuck White does a great job explaining the phased economic reopening proposed by the White House.
Vitruvius (Marcus V. Pollio) (c. 80–70 BC – after c. 15 BC), The Ten Books on Architecture, translated by Morris Hicky Morgan; Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 1914.