COVID - advice and guidelines for <BR> Mainstay customers and employees

COVID - advice and guidelines for
Mainstay customers and employees

Latest News

Posted 02/11/20

Following the announcement of the local COVID Alert Levels and ‘Firebreak’ Lockdown in Wales, we have carefully reviewed the guidance from government and industry bodies. We’d like to thank all of our customers for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

In response to the news of a second lockdown in England, we’re reviewing our management approach so that we can continue to look after your home whilst following the Government guidance to keep everyone safe.

Here, you can find out about the changes we have made across our developments to follow the government guidance and to keep everyone safe.

Advice for all Mainstay customers

The health and safety of our residents, employees and contractors is always our priority. We are continuing to closely monitor the latest government advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and we are responding to this in the way we manage your home.

Following the announcement of the local COVID Alert Levels and ‘Firebreak’ Lockdown in Wales, we have carefully reviewed the guidance from government and industry bodies. Below we have highlighted some of the changes we will make across our developments to follow the government guidance and to keep everyone safe.

We’d like to thank all of our customers for your understanding during this unprecedented time.

Medium alert level areas:

The practical changes we made in response to COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic are detailed in sections 2-3 below. This explains what the changes mean for the different kinds of homes we care for. Across all our developments, we will not need to make any further changes to the way we care for your development at this time if you are in a medium alert area.

High alert level areas:

We need to make significant changes to the way we care for your development, but this is under review and we will respond quickly if we need to, in response to government guidance.

  • Our permanent on-site employees provide essential support and will therefore continue to work from your development.
  • We have asked our off-site property management teams to limit their travel between developments, with a maximum of one development to be visited per day for urgent matters. While they may not be on site as often, you can still contact them on phone or email if you need them.

 

Very high alert areas

We are making some changes to the way we care for your development to make sure we are following the latest government guidance and to keep everyone safe. We are continuing to endeavour to ensure services to your development remain as close to normal as possible. However, the changes we are making are:

  • Our permanent on-site employees provide essential support and will therefore continue to work from your development.
  • Our off-site property management teams will only visit your development in an emergency/for essential works, but you can still contact them by phone or email if you need them.
  • We are reviewing any major works projects and will pause projects that we feel are not time sensitive or urgent.
  • Many of our contractors are still working but we anticipate some of our contractors may reduce service levels. We will let you know if your development is impacted by this. We will make sure our contractors remain vigilant by always following social distancing measures when around residents. We have advised our contractors to wear face coverings within your development where appropriate
  • We will close all indoor communal facilities/amenities as required by government guidance.

Wales ‘Firebreak’ lockdown:

  • Our permanent on-site employees provide essential support and will therefore continue to work from your development.
  • Our off-site property management teams will only visit your development in an emergency/for essential works, but you can still contact them by phone or email if you need them.
  • We are reviewing any major works projects and will pause projects that we feel are not time sensitive or urgent.
  • Many of our contractors are still working but we anticipate some of our contractors may reduce service levels. We will let you know if your development is impacted by this. We will make sure our contractors remain vigilant by always following social distancing measures when around residents. We have advised our contractors to wear face coverings within your development where appropriate
  • We will close all indoor communal facilities/amenities as required by government guidance.

We are sorry that there is further disruption due to Coronavirus. If your development is impacted by a contractor’s reduced service levels or a change to planned major works, we’ll let you know. We are planning ahead to catch up with any delayed projects wherever possible and any cost savings due to works not carried out will be passed on to you through your service charge.

Advice for developments with communal facilities and/or site staff

The latest government guidance, including information about restrictions on seeing people that you do not live with, is available here.

It’s more important than ever that we all follow social distancing guidance, staying two metres away from people not in your household.

Our permanent on-site employees provide you with essential support and will remain working at your development, making sure your development is safe, clean and comfortable. We’ll make sure our staff and contractors remain vigilant by always following social distancing measures when around residents, and we have advised our contractors to wear face coverings within your development where appropriate.

Our employees and contractors are aware that they must not come to work if they or anyone in their household is showing symptoms of Covid-19 and will try to avoid the use of public transport to travel to their development. This may impact their available hours at the development, but they will continue to be available as usual during working hours even if they are not on site.

These following approaches reflect our baseline position which is then flexed as appropriate to comply with changing risk classifications by government (as above) and/or any specific local lockdown measures.

Parcel deliveries: We are asking for parcels to be delivered directly to properties where possible.

Bins and refuse collection: We expect your local authority to maintain refuse collections during this time. Please keep rubbish in tied bags and evenly distributed between your development bins to ensure bin collections can take place, and that overflowing waste or dumped bulky items are not left blocking access, and to reduce the likelihood of attracting pests or rodents. If your development has bin stores and/or refuse chutes, we have tried to temporarily relocate bins to street level, where possible and safe to do so, to make sure that bins can be easily collected even if site staff are unavailable and/or further restrictions are enforced by government. Our operational teams have conducted a site by site review to find the most sensible compromise for your development. If you notice any refuse issues, please notify your property manager and we will liaise with the local authority and/or key contractors, as required.

 

Communal amenities: Any amenities or communal facilities, such as a gyms, will be closed until further notice in line with government guidance.

 

Communal area cleaning, gardening, grounds maintenance and window cleaning: These services will carry on where possible, but with the potential for a reduced frequency due to staff and/or contractor availability. Cleaners have been advised to make sure they focus on high touch areas like door handles, lift call buttons, and stair rails.

 

Lifts: Our main lift contractors have confirmed that they will only be carrying out site visits for entrapments and emergency call outs. We would therefore encourage you to use the stairs rather than the lift if this is possible or you are able to do so. If you do need to use the lift, please make sure that you only share the lift with other members of your household. In the event of a lift failure please use the emergency call point in the lift and call emergency services on 999 if there are no staff on site.

 

Communal systems: If there is a communal heating system at your development and this were to breakdown, please be aware that response times to repair this are likely to be delayed but will be attended to as soon as possible. Please use your domestic immersion heaters where possible.

 

Emergency access to communal amenities: A set of keys for emergency use by authorised contractors to access communal amenities and services has been left with a volunteer resident in case there are any issues with staff being able to get to your development. These will only be used if it is necessary to check the heating system, plant room, water boosters or any other vital systems behind a locked door. This does not include any keys for individual properties.

 

Essential reactive maintenance: We are working to make sure that essential services, for instance reactive maintenance to breakdowns, leaks or electrical faults, or pest control can still be undertaken by our contractors wherever possible.

Advice for Estates

Grounds maintenance: Grounds maintenance services will continue wherever possible but with the potential for a reduced frequency due to staff and/or contractor availability. We have reminded all contractors that they must be strictly following social distancing guidance and must not attend site if they or any of their household have symptoms or have been unwell.

Essential reactive services: We are working to make sure that essential reactive services can still be undertaken on estates developments wherever possible. These would include reactive support for any urgent issues with pump stations, sewage treatment plants, complete street lighting failure (if managed by Mainstay) and electric gates.

How we are looking after our staff

Our guiding principle remains taking care of our colleagues and customers and to safeguard their health and well-being. We are continuing to provide flexible, remote working and the overwhelming majority of our colleagues will continue to work from home.

 

We’ll make sure our staff and contractors remain vigilant by always following social distancing measures when around residents, and we have advised our contractors to wear face coverings within your development where appropriate.

Our permanent on-site employees provide you with essential support and will remain working at your development, making sure your development is safe, clean and comfortable. Our employees are aware that they must not come to work if they or anyone in their household is showing symptoms of Covid-19. They are strictly following social distancing guidance and, where possible, will try to avoid the use of public transport to travel to their development. This may impact their available hours at the development, but they will continue to be available as usual during working hours even if they are not on site.

All staff must wash their hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and that they must self-isolate and follow NHS guidelines if they, or anyone in their household, develops symptoms. All staff must adhere to the two metre rule. Walking, cycling or traveling in own cars are the recommended forms of transport.

 

These following approaches reflect our baseline position which is then flexed as appropriate to comply with changing risk classifications by government (as above) and/or any specific local lockdown measures.

 

Office based staff

  • Office attendance is restricted to a limited number of colleagues unable to work from home, and contractors required to carry out critical works.
  • Staff are briefed using our ‘return to office guidance’ and agree to follow the set hygiene and social distancing protocols when attending the office. Contractors will also be briefed on attendance.
  • Face-to-face meetings with colleagues are limited only to exceptional circumstances.
  • Prominent signage, hand washing reminders and distance markers are displayed around the office.
  • All staff are required to apply anti-bacterial hand gel every time they enter the office and to use anti-bacterial wipes to clean down touchpoints and desk and equipment before and after use.
  • Meetings with visitors are permitted in exceptional circumstances and conducted in the COVID Secure environment, adopting all measures as set out by the risk assessment.
  • Confined areas are limited to one person only.
  • Colleagues handling parcels and/or post are to sanitise their hands before and after handling objects and signing paperwork.
  • Cleaning of equipment and high-risk areas has been increased.

 

Staff based at a managed property

  • All staff must apply anti-bacterial hand gel upon entering and leaving buildings and re-entering vehicles.
  • Staff must adhere to two meters social distance, must not enter confined areas where other people are present and not make any form of contact with anyone.
  • Staff should remain in communal areas and not enter customer’s properties, except in exceptional H&S or building critical circumstances. Before entry, staff should make prior arrangements to avoid face-to-face contact and adopt strict social distancing and hygiene measures. Staff should not enter the property an occupant has symptoms or is self-isolating, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household.
  • Properties that have reported confirmed cases to us are being recorded centrally, and contact should be made with office staff before arranging the visit, to check this central record. The visit should only be re-scheduled when the appropriate cleaning has taken place.
  • Signage will be displayed on a main notice board to advise that a Mainstay representative is in attendance to inform residents and to aid social distancing.
  • Staff should not accept food or drink from others while visiting sites and not pass any objects (such as pens) to or from other persons.
  • Outside spaces or well-ventilated areas are to be used to converse with others, if required, maintaining social distance at all times.
  • Any amenities or communal facilities such as a gyms, community centres, residents’ rooms and children’s play areas will remain closed until further notice.
  • The use of small underground car parks within blocks is not recommended and alternative local, open air parking should be sourced where possible.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable people can return to normal working settings but are to take extra care with social distancing requirements.

 

Staff travelling to managed properties

  • Colleagues are permitted to travel to properties as required, on their own, by walking, cycling or using their own car.
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel must be applied upon entering and leaving buildings and re-entering vehicles.
  • Colleagues must adhere to 2 meters social distance, must not enter confined areas where other people are present, or shake hands or make any form of contact with anyone.
  • Visits to individual properties are permitted only in exceptional health and safety or building critical circumstances. Any arrangements for visits to individual properties are to be communicated in advance along with details of the COVID-19 precautions that will be taken. Visits will not be made if occupants of the property are shielding or are displaying symptoms.
  • No more than one site is to be visited on a given day, unless colleagues have had the opportunity to shower and change in between.

Useful links

Please refer to the links below for the most recent information from the Government and NHS about the Coronavirus situation in the UK.

The Government’s latest advice:

NHS latest advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Government travel advice – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

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