Your Facilities and COVID-19

At this point you have probably read a dozen emails from businesses you patronize detailing what they are doing to keep their employees safe and their stores clean in the wake of COVID-19. But what should you do? Our industry is unique in the fact that we don’t see crowds of people entering our offices every day and most facilities already have a limited number of staff.

NeSSA has put together some information below for your consideration. Please note, nothing in this post constitutes as legal advice, nor is it medical advice.

Stay Updated

First and foremost, stay updated with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and follow their recommendations. Additionally, keep up with your state government and heed any curfews and restrictions put in place for your state. Please see the links below for general information as well as information from your specific state.

CDC – Businesses & Employers
Rhode Island

NeSSA has completed a COVID-19 Member Resource page with additional resources for our members including webinars, articles, and templates.

Should You Remain Open?

Unless your state closes all businesses, this decision comes solely from the owner and facility team. Collaboration and open communication is a good idea where possible. Do what is best for your health and safety first. The CDC recommends that you work from home if you are able to do so, especially if you are immunocompromised or considered to be at high risk.

If you keep your offices open:
  • Consider limiting the number of staff on duty at any given time.
  • Consider limiting your hours of operation.
  • Have hand sanitizer available for employees and customers.
  • Keep disinfecting wipes and cleaning supplies on hand to wipe down counters, door handles, and any other high-traffic areas.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling money, mail, or even at all times if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  • Do not feel that you must shake hands. The CDC recommends using other alternatives at this time.
  • Encourage your employees to stay home if they or anyone in their household becomes sick.
  • If your facility rents trucks, you may want to consider suspending that service for the time being unless you can ensure they have been thoroughly disinfected between rentals.
If you close your offices:
  • Whether you close your physical offices for the time being or limit your hours of operation, be sure to communicate this with both your current and potential tenants.
  • Send a mass e-mail with closure/limited hours information.
  • Update your website and social media pages with this information.
  • Post a sign on your door detailing these changes.
  • In your communication, make it clear that you are still open for business, just not in person.
    • Let current tenants know how they can reach you if they have questions, concerns, need to make a payment, or need to access their unit.
    • Direct potential tenants to your website to view and/or rent available units. Post your email address and phone number so they can contact you with questions, reserve units, or set up a one-on-one meeting to sign a lease agreement. This all comes easier if you have 24/7 access and an online lease, but if you don’t these are some ideas you can use to remain open but limit your contact with others.

During a time like this, it is also important that you are aware of your state’s specific guidelines with respect to price gouging. This may effect street rates, promotions, and occupied rates. See below for links to your state’s laws.

For more information on price gouging, you can read the national Self Storage Association’s memo on it here.

NeSSA’s Events

At this time, NeSSA is still planning to hold our Spring Retreat at the Publick House on May 6th. We are monitoring the situation closely and will make any further decisions regarding the event in April. In the meantime, please feel free to register as normal. In the event that NeSSA does cancel the Spring Retreat due to COVID-19, all registrations and sponsorships will be refunded in full, and an alternative virtual event will be explored in its place.

Until then, we have online education available through our webinars and member resources.

We hope you find this information helpful during a time of uncertainty. We want you all to stay safe, healthy, and informed until the tide turns in this situation. As always, we are here for you if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Courtney Kahler, Executive Director
on behalf of the NeSSA Board of Directors