Interior Painting During the Covid-19 Pandemic
There is a controversial ancient saying that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” This saying is noteworthy for us today because the best sources indicate that this proverb originated in China, though no one is sure. The one thing most scholars agree on is that this saying is meant to be a curse.
To be sure, we are living in very interesting times. One of the most interesting aspects of these unprecedented times is the Novel Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted the lives of virtually every human being in many interesting ways. It is thought to have originated in China, though no one is really sure.
Even as this pandemic has sequestered the citizens of every developed nation around the world and seriously slowed the international economy, the world has continued to turn. Our needs, as individuals and in the business community, still arise and must be met. In some respects, those needs have been aggravated by our inability to interact socially and commercially. For instance, when our residences or our places of business go without the oversight and preventative care they require, any problems that might be present are exacerbate.
Fortunately, we now have the renewed ability to engage in work and to seek the assistance we need should problems arise or maintenance be necessary for our commercial or residential property. This article will lift up the necessary safety protocols for keeping your home safe when you have to have workers—in particular, interior painters—come onto the property. Then it will discuss those precautions you as a homeowner should expect service companies to provide. Next, it will discuss the special circumstances required of businesses to prevent the spread of the virus. Finally, it will list the additionally required precautions a business should expect of interior painters servicing commercial clients.
Keeping Your Home Safe During the Pandemic
Throughout 2020, our homes have been a bastion of safety. We know that remaining in our homes and interacting with as few others outside our homes as possible has been a safety net for us. Still, periodically our homes need upkeep, and often the work that is necessitated is beyond our personal abilities. At times we simply need the help of workers. During the pandemic, our tendency has been to ignore needed repairs, which of course, only makes the situation graver and the repair more expensive. At some point, you will need to have workers come to your home.
Here are the realities forced upon us by the pandemic which must be taken into consideration as we prepare to open our homes to needed repair:
We must be aware of who is most vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus.
While people of all ages have contracted the virus, those most at risk are people with underlying health issues, especially diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or breathing problems.
We must be aware of how the disease is known to spread.
The primary source of infection is from respiratory droplets from coughs, sneezes, or simply conversation from a person who is infected. Individuals who are infected can spread this illness before they have any symptoms.
Avoiding the infection
It has been demonstrated that the most effective manner of avoiding infection has several simple precautions, first and foremost, avoiding those who are ill.
We should engage in frequent handwashing with soap and water or hand sanitizer, particularly regarding specific circumstances such as after touching any mask or face covering we may be wearing; after touching another person or animal; after coughing or sneezing; before meals; before touching our faces or our eyes; after using the restroom; after leaving any public place, whether others were present at the time or not; after caring for an ill person, whether we physically touched them or not.
We should avoid close contact with other individuals.
We should avoid close contact with other individuals. This is true in our homes if another resident appears to be ill or showing symptoms. This is especially important in public, where we should maintain a distance of six feet from others.
We should wear a mask
We should wear a mask whenever we are around others, both for their protection and ours. When two people interact, and both are wearing masks, the chances of either of them contracting any illness, but especially Covid-19, is reduced by 80%.
Cleaning and disinfecting our homes
Cleaning and disinfecting our homes is a priority, including daily disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, like door handles, phones, sinks, light switches, and all those other things we frequently contact without giving it any thought.
What Precautions You Should Expect of Your Painting Contractors When They Come to Your Home
While professional interior painters are eager to perform the painting services you require, their true priority has always been—and is all the more so true these days—is your safety and well-being.
For this reason, professional interior painting contractors should have developed a list of expected precautionary practices that include the following practices:
There should be a discussion of safety
There should be a discussion of safety, including between the resident and the painting contractor, asking if there are any special health concerns or hygiene needs painters need to take into consideration as they prepare for your project.
Non-contact / Virtual painting estimates
Non-contact estimates are available when requested or when the situation dictates this as a necessity. The use of cell phone and tablet photos and video, as well as video chats, can be arranged to allow the painting company to make accurate estimates of the work entailed and the projected costs.
PPE (personal protective equipment)
When painters are present, they should wear masks whenever distancing cannot be maintained and any other PPE (personal protective equipment) deemed necessary) as well as the washing and sanitizing of hands.
Workplace tools should not be shared, along with any work paraphernalia brought onto the work site for your project.
From an abundance of caution, any employee showing symptoms of any kind will remain at home.
During the work process, contact of any kind within the home will be strictly minimized.
While painters are in the home, contact with the resident homeowner will be limited to one individual who should be wearing a mask and/or maintaining social distancing.
Some residents may feel much more comfortable remaining at a different location when interior painters are working in their homes. For this reason, it is essential that an onsite liaison be available to the homeowner at all times. The painting company should also be reputable and insured enabling the homeowner, whether present or not, to rest assured that the property is not only safe from the Covid-19 virus but all other concerns as well.
Keeping Your Business Safe During the Pandemic
Watching reports of the dramatic, swift spread of the Corona Virus during the pandemic has brought home to us all that our world is a global village. Your portal to the rest of the world is your place of business. By definition, places of business must reach out to customers and clients. Even Internet companies promote and participate in interactions with people outside the company, whether it’s the package delivery service or the pizza man. To conduct business is to engage the outside world.
Because of this, it’s necessary for companies to establish safety protocols to prevent and, if necessary, control the spread of Covid-19.
Here is a list of commonly advised safety precautions recommended for every business by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
Companies should involve all employees in an effort to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19. This should involve any necessary training, and information and skills should be offered to employees in clear, easily comprehensible ways.
Business interactions should be managed in such a way as to avoid as much face-to-face interaction as possible. Flexible shifts and working from home where possible are two strategies that promote social isolation.
Employees who become ill
Employees who become ill at work or begin to show symptoms should immediately be separated from other workers and sent home. Their workspaces should immediately be disinfected. A record of their personal contacts with others, for the purposes of contact tracing, should be developed
Employees who must remain home
Employees who must remain home while they are ill or because they are quarantined after being in contact with others who are ill should be encouraged to remain at home without concern about job loss or reprisal. Employees should be made aware of this policy before any illness occurs to prevent an employee from disguising symptoms and remaining at work while ill.
Flexible, adaptable policies
Businesses should develop flexible, adaptable policies that allow employees to remain at home to care for sick relatives or care for children.
Company’s overall Covid-19 protocol
As a part of the company’s overall Covid-19 protocol, an official set of standards for behaviors such as sneezing, coughing, hand washing, sanitizing and disinfecting work areas should be established and related to all employees.
Transparency and open communication
There should include a policy of transparency and open communication between the administration and all workers that will allow all employees to seek information and to express concerns about issues involving the pandemic. Each employee should know who his or her official information contact person is as well as having a posted chain of communication.
Part-time employees, temporary employees, and contract workers—along with any agency who provides these workers—should also be a part of the overall pandemic procedure policy.
Finally, where possible, alternatives to business travel should be avoided and replaced by teleconferencing and video meetings.
What Precautions You Should Expect of Your Painting Contractors When They Come to Your Place of Business
On the face of the situation, it would seem that because of the idling of business activity and the preponderance of employees who are being forced to work from home, this would be an ideal time for businesses to engage commercial painters for workplaces. While this might be true, it is no less important for the interior painting contractor to observe each of the precautions listed above for residential interior painting work.
Just as active businesses require additional pandemic safety precautions, so your company should anticipate that the professional painting company will provide extra measures as well. Here is a list of additional safety requirements your business should expect of the interior painting company with whom you contract:
In addition to all the Covid-19 protocols listed above, painters should be expected to maintain Social distancing, wear masks, regularly wash hands and/or sanitize.
The painting contractor should work with the business administrators to schedule painting work in specific areas when it will interfere with the fewest number of workers.
A liaison between the painting crew and the company should be named and be present at all times that painters are present in the company workspace.
The liaison should be empowered to make certain the painting crew not only has the least possible interaction with employees.
A plan of action
A plan of action on behalf of both of the company and of the painting contractor should be devised to consider any eventuality involving the potential illness of a painter or an employee and any breach of protocol on behalf of either the contractor or the business. The action plan should include contact data for both the company and the contractor, as well as a chain of command with responsibilities and authority described for everyone involved.
Commercial service companies, and in particular interior paint contractors, have acquired new skill sets as a direct result of the pandemic. Their new abilities enable them to provide the same excellent quality of work as well as being able preserve the disease-free status of all the properties, commercial and residential, where they work. If interior painting is required where you live or work, it can be provided while your health and safety are preserved.
While we are all hoping that the times quickly become a lot less interesting and things return to normal soon, there is no doubt that we have accomplished a great deal in terms of innovation, new business practices, and a shared awareness of what we need to do to avoid passing germs back and forth to one another. Perhaps there will be some universal goods that emerge from this pandemic. For instance, new protocols may emerge so that future eruptions of unknown diseases are tamped down with far less illness and loss of life.