BOMA Opposes Requiring Property Personnel to Conduct Health Screenings
As the country considers easing restrictions during the COVID-19 emergency, assuring safe workplaces is a central issue, and the commercial real estate sector is committed to helping slow the spread of the virus while allowing essential services to continue. With all the activity being undertaken by the industry during this challenging time, one issue that should not be mandated at the property level is health screening and specifically temperature checks. Early evidence indicates that state and local governments will either impose mandates at the employer level or ask individuals to self-monitor, but the industry will need to remain vigilant. BOMA International assisted the local associations in getting in front of this issue, producing an internal policy resource along with a sample letter to send to governors or mayors.
From BOMA’s perspective, mandating properties to implement health screening would be inappropriate for the following reasons: (1) Health care should be handled by health care workers; (2) Temperature checks are an ineffective solution, particularly because a large percentage of virus carriers remain asymptomatic; (3) Property staff would unnecessarily be placed at risk; (4) Implementation would be practically unworkable; (5) There are serious legal concerns related to privacy if a non-employer performs health screenings; and (6) There are serious legal concerns related to enforcement, as properties generally do not have authority to limit or deny access to tenant premises.