BY ROBERT C. INTELISANO
The term “Reopen” has been used often over the last two to four weeks. We went from “flatten the curve” to “rebuild” to “reopen.” But reopen to what, the new normal? What does the “new normal” look like?
If you go back to 9/11, the “new normal” was metal detectors in airports, office buildings, stadiums, schools and many other places where large gatherings occur. After Hurricane Sandy, we changed building codes and homes were rebuilt and elevated while raising electrical circuit boards and generators.
My vision of the COVID-19 phase one reopen will include many office employees working from home. I see about 20 percent in an office-home hybrid setting and 80 percent working virtually from home full time.
I envision people always knowing their body temperature before leaving home. Self-administered at-home tests will be the new protocol.
I interviewed Queens Chamber of Commerce member John Rafferty, who is CEO of Watch Guard 24/7, a Queens-based security firm, for his thoughts on how buildings and security protocols will change when they reopen. He sees buildings relying on their security and concierge teams to ensure a safe passage into the building and enforcing social distancing guidelines.
Some of these steps will include:
• Prohibiting entry into the building to persons not wearing masks.
• Ensuring visitors, tenants and staff remain six feet apart, and that no one is loitering or congregating in the lobby.
• Limiting the amount of people in an elevator at one time.
• Utilization of hand sanitizer when entering a building.
• Thermal thermometer scans to prevent entry by asymptomatic persons into the building.
These are minimal steps that buildings should be looking to incorporate. Rafferty said when his company reopens its office to the entire staff, they will be implementing teams that will work on different days and times to further protect their staff.
“This will be the new normal, and we need to be proactive at this time to ensure everyone’s safety,” he said.