As COVID-19 cases are on the rise, many states have again mandated stay-at-home orders or have pulled back on reopening plans. Some states have even tightened restrictions on businesses that must remain closed and/or have ordered that all employees that can work remotely, must do so. With any state, local or county government law, order, guidance, or directive that provides for COVID-19 restrictions and/or requirements in the workplace, a cooperative Board of Directors must contact its cooperative attorney to not only interpret the restrictions and/or requirements but to assist the Board of Directors with the implementation of restrictions.
For Cooperatives that have on-site resale and maintenance office employees that are in states that have implemented work from home orders and/or have recently tightened their COVID-19 restrictions and/or requirements it is vital that you seek legal guidance from your cooperative attorney. An experienced cooperative attorney will be able to draft on-site workplace safety plans for the Cooperative to ensure that the cooperative is in compliance with any and all law, order, guidance or directive. It is imperative that a Board of Directors work closely with its cooperative attorney to implement a workplace safety plan for the cooperative’s employees that is not only consistent with any state law, order, guidance, or directive, but that is also consistent with any and all CDC and OSHA guidelines for COVID-19.
It is not lost that not all of the day-to-day operations of a cooperative can be done remotely as carrying charges must be collected and applied, bills must be processed and invoiced, and resales must be carried out. Additionally, maintenance and repairs must also be done to the cooperative premises and to individual dwelling units in order to protect the cooperative and the membership. However, the last thing a cooperative Board of Directors wants to face are fines and penalties for not complying with any and all COVID-19 related law, order, guidance or directive that places restrictions and/or requirements in the workplace.
In sum, cooperative Board of Directors must contact their cooperative attorney to seek guidance and assistance with any and all COVID-19 restrictions that are set in place at either the local, county, state or federal level. This protectionary action will help ensure that the Cooperative not only protects its employees but also ensures that the Cooperative is in compliance with any and all COVID-19 restrictions and/or regulations. Moreover, having your cooperative attorney involved will allow for a quick transition process to ensure that your cooperative remains in compliance in the event that your local, county and/or state further restricts or loosens its COVID-19 restrictions or requirements.