On Monday, March 23rd, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-08 entitled Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home.
Intent of this Executive Order:
The intent of this Executive Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their homes or residences to the maximum extent feasible, while also enabling essential services to continue, in order to slow the spread of COFID-19 to the greatest extent possible. When individuals need to leave their homes or residences, whether to perform Essential Activities or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life, they should at all times, and as much as reasonably possible, comply with the Social Distancing Requirements. All provisions of this Executive Order should be interpreted to effectuate this intent.
In response to Executive Order 20-08, affordable housing providers are asking, “As a management company in Indiana, are we allowed to stay open and working?”
The short answer is yes! We are in the business of providing residential housing and many of us are required to report to work in order to provide essential services for residents to continue to live in their homes. Affordable housing providers should remain committed to adhering to the requirements while also providing essential services to the communities in which you operate. We encourage you to review the order thoroughly and if necessary, consult counsel when determining which staff are engaged in performing essential functions or other essential work or activities.
We reached out to Matt Rayburn, IHCDA, and Gareth Kuhl, Kuhl and Grant LLP, for advice to share with AHAIN Members.
Executive Order 20-08 lists out “Critical Infrastructure Industries” whose workers are “essential” and should continue to be permitted to provide required services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure as they are considered essential workers.
Click here to view Executive Order 20-08 – Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home
11. Essential Infrastructure – page 4
For purposes of this Executive Order, individuals may leave their homes and residences in order to provide any services or to perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain, and repair Essential Infrastructure.
The phrase “Essential Infrastructure” includes, but is not limited to, the following: food productions, distribution, fulfillment centers, storage facilities, marinas, and sale; construction (including, but not limited to, construction required in response to this public health emergency, hospital construction, construction of long-term care facilities, public works construction, school construction, essential business construction, and housing construction); building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including, for example, water, sewer, and gas; electrical (including power generation, distribution, and production of raw materials); distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railways, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telelcommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).
Further, the phrase “Essential Infrastructure” shall be construed broadly in order to avoid any impacts to essential infrastructure, broadly defined.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Construction (essential business construction and housing construction)
- Building management and maintenance
- Operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical
- Internet, video, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).
14. Essential Businesses and Operations – Page 5
For the purpose of this Executive Order, the phrase “Essential Business and Operations” means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure, as well as the following:
Organizations That Provide Charitable and Social Services – Page 6, 14 d.
Businesses and religious and secular non-profit organizations, including food banks, when providing food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities.
Critical Trades – Page 6, 14 j.
Building, construction, and other trades, including, but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, operating engineers, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Business and Operations.
Professional Services – page 7 – 14 t.
Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, and real estate services (including appraisal and title services).
Comments from Gareth Kuhl:
This is obviously a very recent development and a very fluid situation. I would definitely encourage anyone with questions to call the hotline with specific questions. But here is my initial take on this. I don’t think it’s going to be a simple yes or no answer for an entire management company. I think it’s clear that onsite maintenance workers should be exempt so that they can perform basic maintenance and repair functions to ensure that tenants can continue to receive the housing that they need. I think it then gets a bit more gray when you talk about onsite managers. I’ve seen some examples already where the onsite manager is no longer on site, and tenants are asked to call or email with questions or issues, or for prospective tenants to apply. I suppose that if there’s a specific reason why the onsite manager has to be physically present to perform certain functions specific to that rental community, they could certainly make a claim for exemption. For example, maybe the onsite manager needs to go to the management office once a week to collect checks for deposit, check mail, walk the site, etc. For central office folks, I would suspect that most of that work can be accomplished from home, through the use of basic technology. However, if it’s necessary for certain employees to be physically present from time to time to ensure that others can work remotely, then I think that should also qualify for the exemption. In short, I think the very broad exemption language certainly covers onsite maintenance, as well as those positions or individuals that are necessary to enable the management function to continue to operate. But the intent of the rule needs to also be considered and, to the greatest extent possible, onsite and central office management staff should work remotely and avoid going into their offices. For example, if the IT manager needs to go into the office for 5 hours on a Wednesday to make sure that the remote access is functioning correctly, so that the company can continue to property manage effectively, then that event should be covered by the exemption. But it’s certainly not the intent of this exemption for a management company to just tell all of its employees that they need to all go to work as usual, just because the exemption applies to management and maintenance functions. The owner and managers of each company need to assess the specific needs of each property and each position and determine who is needed and when, and who can effectively work remotely, and how to manage that remote work.
Indiana Call Center
Indiana opened a hotline to help business and industry with Stay-at-Home Order.
Indiana opened a call center to field industry questions about Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-08, which provides for essential and non-essential business operations, infrastructure and government functions while the state observes a stay-at-home order from March 25-April 7.
The Critical Industries Hotline opened Tuesday at 9 a.m. to help guide businesses and industries with the executive order.
This center, reachable by calling 877-820-0890 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and is set up for business and industry questions only.
Please read Gov. Holcomb’s executive order and this FAQ page to clarify restrictions and acceptable activities and services under Monday’s Executive Order.
All of Gov. Holcomb’s Executive Orders can found here.