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Monthly Archives: September 2020


Avoiding the Spread of Communicable Disease in the Office

Avoiding the Spread of Communicable Disease in the OfficeLet’s look at Avoiding the Spread of Communicable Disease in the Office. As a risk manager, it is important to be prepared for any number of events that could threaten the safety of your employees and/or cause severe business interruption. One of these threats is a communicable disease. Communicable diseases are ones that
are easily transmitted among people, and include influenza, hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV and many others. If one of your employees contracts such an infectious disease or there is an outbreak in your local community, you need to be prepared to maintain as safe and healthy a workplace as possible.


5 Factors in Avoiding the Spread of Communicable Disease in the Office

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REQUIRED EMPLOYEE DISCLOSURE

At the most basic level, organizations should develop a communicable disease policy in the workplace requiring employees to notify the company of any possible exposure to certain diseases. This will allow the organization to take proactive preventive measures against the spread of the disease. Since medical disclosures are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must ensure that the policy meets the requirements of the ADA, including keeping employee health information confidential as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As part of the policy, employees may be asked to work reduced hours, work from a remote location and/or may be removed from nonessential job duties until they are no longer contagious.

TRAVEL AND QUARANTINE POLICIES

Employee travel must comply with all advisories from the CDC and U.S. Department of State. As a result, those who are traveling to areas with current communicable disease outbreaks must obtain all recommended vaccinations and follow all health recommendations.

If an employee travels to a region of the world for which he or she must be quarantined upon arrival back to the United States, he or she should notify immediately to arrange for telecommuting or paid leave. This policy should be communicated to employees prior to any travel taking place.

EMPLOYEE LEAVE POLICIES

Social distancing is one of the best methods to prevent the spread of a communicable disease in office. Employees may be subject to quarantine, may be ill and need to stay home, or may be home caring for sick relatives. As a result, these individuals should remain away from the workplace to reduce the likelihood of infecting others.

Beyond this, other employees may fear that they will come in contact with a disease while being in the workplace and may consequently refuse to come to work. In response, should consider devising policies to address these concerns and leave issues. These policies may include the following:

• Compliance with the directives of the CDC with regard to social distancing
• Maintenance of company operations, including backup options for essential supply chains, business functions and personnel
• Sustaining a functioning workforce to minimize the effects of employee absenteeism
• Limiting unnecessary social interaction. This may include avoiding in-person meetings and instead utilizing e-mail, telephone or other remote conferencing strategies
• Compliance with applicable laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Also compliance with overtime stipulations of the Fair

Labor Standards Act for telecommuting employees

• Address the following logistical concerns:
• How employees request communicable disease leave
• Requirements for regularly reporting medical conditions
• Whether leave is paid or unpaid
• Whether benefits are provided or accrued during the leave period
• If leave becomes exhausted, whether employee will be required to return to work

FEDERAL COMPLIANCE

In addition to the laws mentioned above, there are other laws that may affect a policy regarding communicable disease in the office nd its ramifications:

• The Privacy Rules under HIPAA require employers to protect the privacy of all employee medical information. As a result, employers must determine what diseases employees must report, who will have access to this information and whether reporting this information to public health officials is necessary. If other employees must be notified of a possible communicable disease case in the workplace, all necessary precautions must be taken to protect the privacy of the infected individual.

• Under FMLA, for employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, employees who have worked for the company for 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours within the last 12 months are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave due to a “serious health condition.” Most communicable diseases will likely be considered applicable under this regulation.

• An employee who suffers a permanent health problem that greatly affects his or her daily life may be entitled to protection under the ADA.

• Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), employers must confirm that employees under their health plan receive an updated summary plan description (SPD) of the health benefits. If employees do not receive an SPD, the provisions allowing the plan to change may not be enforceable. Furthermore, if an employer cannot prove that employees and/or dependents did receive a revised SPD, then the employer may be required to provide higher benefits in accordance with previous SPDs.

COMMUNICABLE DISEASE RESPONSE PLAN

Creating a communicable disease response plan is an effective way to communicate with employees clearly
while also complying with local, state and federal guidelines for pandemic responses. Plans should be concise, easy to understand, and effective in preserving the health and safety of all employees. Plans should include the following:

• The designation of a person within the workplace who is responsible for all disease planning and emergency actions

• Communication of the policy and required steps for requesting leave

• Development of protocol with regard to increased absenteeism and how to maintain a functioning workforce

• Development of a monitoring program to track employees who cannot return to work immediately due to illness

• Development of social distancing strategies to limit transmission risks

• Plan distribution timeline and format (online, hard copy, etc.)

In disease outbreak situations, it is important that employers are prepared and remain flexible in their response strategies, in order to maintain critical business operations while also keeping their employees safe and healthy.

Brian Blaston Hardenbergh

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USA Surpasses 200,000 COVID Deaths

USA Surpasses 200,000 COVID DeathsWhat happened today seemed impossible to many Americans six months ago.

When Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted in March that Covid-19 could kill 200,000 people in the US, skeptics lambasted him and accused him of fearmongering.
But Fauci was right. And the US reached that bleak milestone much earlier than some experts predicted.

Read on CNN

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Construction of Philadelphia Esports Arena Halted

Construction of Philadelphia Esports Arena HaltedThe opening of Comcast Spectacor’s $50 million Philadelphia purpose-built esports arena — slated to be the first of its kind in North America — will be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The highly publicized Fusion Arena was supposed to be finished in 2021, but in a statement to Sports Business Journal, Comcast revealed that the project is now on hold, virtually ensuring that the original opening date will not be met. The venue was only in the early stages of construction — the groundbreaking was last September — so the delay could be significant.

Read on BizJournal.com

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WCRE Expands Regional Team with a Duo of New Hires

New Team Members to Serve Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey Markets & Sales Team Marketing

Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce the hiring of two new professionals serving its southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern/Central New Jersey teams.

The new hires are Bethany Brown, who joins WCRE as Vice President and Gabrielle Leonetti, Sales Team Marketing Coordinator.

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WCRE Expands Regional Team with a Duo of New Hires

Bethany Brown specializes in developing and implementing creative and flexible real estate strategies for users in the Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. Throughout her career, Bethany has worked with sophisticated corporate users across all business lines, as well as religious organizations, private schools and other nonprofits. With this diverse experience Bethany is in constant pursuit of creative real estate solutions that fit the unique needs of each client and prides herself on guiding clients through all aspects of a transaction.

Bethany’s real estate career spans over 15 years. She began in property management for Industrial REITS in the Eastern Pennsylvania Market. She then joined Colliers International in 2007 and focused on sales and leasing for national, regional and local companies with office, industrial, and nonprofit requirements.

Most recently, Bethany was General Manager for a hospitality brand while building a real estate investment portfolio of her own in Philadelphia. This experience of running daily operations for a small business, which grew into a National brand, combined with her own entrepreneurial endeavors gives Bethany an exceptional understanding of the concerns that face business owners and commercial real estate users. By focusing on developing relationships instead of completing a transaction, Bethany works to understand her client’s unique short- and long-term goals and advises on solutions with these in mind. Bethany’s focus is to streamline and simplify an otherwise complicated process while striving to improve the client’s bottom line.

Gabrielle Leonetti joins WCRE as the Sales Team Marketing Coordinator. She brings 3 years of marketing experience, 5 years of sales experience and 10 years of administration in various industries. Gabrielle’s diverse employment history with American Asphalt Company, Acre Mortgage, Regional Cancer Care Associates and Antonelli Family Contractors has afforded her to be able to understand and excel in handling all facets of business and marketing strategies.
Gabrielle will be responsible for aiding and directing the sales team with innovative marketing tactics and social media presence.

Gabrielle has experience in website management, social media marketing, executing email and mail campaigns, content writing, designing marketing materials, creating annual marketing plans and marketing budget plans.

“Our entire firm is excited to have such talented and diverse new team members servicing our clients in the region,” said WCRE Managing Principal, Jason Wolf. “Our people have always been our biggest asset and our biggest advantage in the marketplace.”

About WCRE

WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long-term growth and success.

Learn more about WCRE at www.wolfcre.com, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com, and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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Third Annual WCRE Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament Raises $40,000

In its third year, built on the remarkable success of WCRE’s community commitment and annual celebrity charity hockey events, The WCRE Foundation has successfully raised approximately $40,000 to be shared equally by 6 charitable causes within the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region. Over the past three years, The WCRE Foundation has now raised close to $390,000.

The Third Annual WCRE Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament which was held at Ramblewood Country Club in Mount Laurel this past Thursday afternoon, is the brainchild of Philadelphia Flyer legend and WCRE director of strategic relationships Brian Propp and WCRE’s managing principal, Jason Wolf. WCRE welcomed 150 area business leaders and many guests to an afternoon of great golf, fun, competition and contests.
All proceeds from the event will be shared among the CARES Institute at Rowan University, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, Bancroft, the American Cancer Society, Susan G Komen-Philadelphia and Samaritan. Each of these organizations benefits from WCRE’s long-standing practice of giving back to the communities where they serve. Learn more about WCRE’s community commitment at https://wolfcre.com/community-commitment/.

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“This event was another successful gathering for The WCRE Foundation and our community partners. Special thanks to the entire WCRE team, our incredible sponsors, donors, golfers, friends and Ramblewood Country Club who all helped make our 2020 Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament a victory for 6 incredible non-profits in our community,” said Jason M. Wolf, founding principal of WCRE. “It is a credit to our friends, neighbors, and business associates that we are able to come together to improve the lives of others.”

 

 

About WCRE

WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long term growth and success.

Learn more about WCRE on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC.

Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com

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Preparing Commercial HVAC Systems for Winter

Preparing Commercial HVAC Systems for Winter

With the fall season in full swing, it’s time to start preparing commercial HVAC systems for winter. If your HVAC system isn’t ready for the frigid winter season, you’ll be left out in the cold. Take action now to make sure that doesn’t happen!

Hutchinson, a leading energy services and mechanical services contractor serving the region’s commercial customers, offers tips to help add life to your systems, enhance comfort and improve your bottom line.

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1. Take Advantage of Energy Efficiency Programs. Upgrade to energy efficiency with Direct Install from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program and up to 70% of the cost will be covered for energy upgrades, including lighting and HVAC equipment. Instead of pumping money into your outdated, inefficient units, why not upgrade to a new, state of the-art energy efficient system?

2. Use Energy Star Portfolio Manager to see how your building rates with other similar buildings. If you rate low, there are many things you can do to improve the operation of your building.

3. Check HVAC settings to get maximum efficiency. By setting your thermostat at 68°during the day and at 60° at night, you can save approximately 3% on heating costs for every degree under 70.

4. Install a programmable thermostat. Forget to adjust the temperature before you left the office? No worries. With a web and cloud based control system during and after office hours, you’ll keep settings maintained. Now, that’s peace of mind!

5. Establish a preventive maintenance program. When your HVAC system runs smoothly, so can your business. Prevent equipment problems before they start!

• Change or clean all air filters, preferably every month.
• Repair leaks in piping, air duct s, coils, fittings and at the unit(s).
• Replace defective equipment insulation, ducting and piping.
• Install/upgrade HVAC controls to include new energy management systems technologies.

6. Clean Heating Ducts Heating ducts periodically to allow efficient heating and provide fresh, clean air. Also check to make sure the ducts are properly insulated.

Contact Hutchinson at 888-777-4501 or dicoordinator@hutchbiz.com for help preparing commercial HVAC systems for winter

About Hutchinson
Hutchinson is a leading energy/mechanical services contractor performing heating, cooling, plumbing, and energy services throughout the greater New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Northern Delaware Region. Visit www.hutchbiz.com for more information.

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City to Close Streets Around Stadiums on Game Days

City to Close Streets Around Stadiums on Game Days

There are still many ways to enjoy the game safely, and we encourage fans to watch at home with family,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a news statement.

An area bounded by 7th Street, Broad Street, Packer Avenue and I-95 will be closed to vehicle traffic between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20.

Read on NBC10

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Fed Indicates Rates to Stay Near Zero for Years

Fed to Hold Rates Steady Based on Economic DataThe Federal Reserve kept its pledge to keep interest rates anchored near zero and promised to keep rates there until inflation rises consistently.

As the central bank concluded its two-day policy meeting Wednesday, it said short-term rates would remain targeted at 0%-0.25%. Officials also changed their economic forecasts to reflect a smaller decline in GDP and a lower unemployment rate in 2020.

Read on CNBC

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Pennsylvania Restrictions Ruled Unconstitutional

Pennsylvania Restrictions Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal judge on Monday ruled that some of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s restrictions implemented amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic were unconstitutional — marking a win for businesses struggling to stay afloat amid the forced shutdown.

U.S. District Judge William Stickman IV, who was appointed by President Trump, sided with plaintiffs that included hair salons, drive-in movie theaters, a farmer’s market vendor, a horse trainer and several Republican officeholders in their lawsuit against Wolf, a Democrat, and his health secretary.

The ruling found that Wolf’s restrictions that required people to stay at home, placed size limits on gatherings and ordered “non-life-sustaining” businesses to shut down were unconstitutional.

Read on FoxNews.com

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Retail Chain Century 21 Files for Bankruptcy

Retail Chain Century 21 Files for BankruptcyCentury 21 has 13 stores mostly in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. As of Thursday, it had 1,400 employees. The company blamed the lack of payment on its business interruption insurance as the cause of its demise.

Department store chains large and small were struggling even before the Covid-19 pandemic caused stores to shut temporarily and shift more purchases online. Stores that depended on clothing sales, such as Century 21, have been hit particularly hard as millions of people are out of work and millions more are working from home and not needing to buy as many dress clothes.

Read on CNN

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Jefferson to Build $762M Specialty Care Pavilion

Jefferson to Build $762M Specialty Care PavilionThomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health unveiled plans Thursday to build a $762 million, 19-floor medical building in Center City.

The Specialty Care Pavilion at 11th and Chestnut streets will centralize an array of clinical services at one site.

“This spectacular new center is our bridge to the future, where we’ll create the nation’s first model of health assurance,” said Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “People want to be supported in staying healthy without health care getting in the way.”

Read on Biz Journals

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Mall Owners Simon and Brookfield to acquire J.C. Penney

Mall Owners Simon and Brookfield to acquire J.C. PenneyJ.C. Penney has reached a tentative deal to sell its business and stores to a group of mall owners and lenders in a move that would save the department store chain from liquidation.

The retailer disclosed Wednesday during a bankruptcy hearing that it had struck the deal with Simon Property Group, Brookfield Property Group and a group of bankruptcy lenders.

The deal is expected to save more than 600 stores and 70,000 jobs. The company has separately announced plans to liquidate 242 locations.

Read on USA Today

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