PHA Visitor Policy updated for vendors, partners and others who enter PHA buildings in light of COVID-19.
The Providence Housing Authority (PHA) has updated its Visitor Policy for vendors, partners, and others entering PHA buildings in light of health risks associated with COVID-19. The Policy is only one of the many ways the PHA is working to protect residents, participants, partners, and staff during this pandemic.
Updated October 20, 2020
The Providence Housing Authority (PHA) takes seriously its responsibility to protect the safety and well being of all its tenants, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created substantial challenges for the agency in this area. In particular, the agency has been concerned with its high-rise buildings, which together hold more than 1,100 units of housing in close proximity, where residents share building entrances, hallways and elevators and social distancing is a challenge. In addition, the high-rise buildings tend to house some of those at highest risk for COVID-19 – two are open exclusively to elderly tenants, and the other four house elderly as well as younger adults with disabilities.
The PHA has posted signs, banners and put forward other communications to tenants since April of 2020 stating clearly that visitors to high rise buildings are limited to deliveries of food or medicine, medical care, and wellness checks and that other visitors are prohibited at this time. The PHA has continued to remind high rise tenants of this policy and to make sure tenants understand that the various stages of “reopening” at the state level have not negated the need to continue extraordinary safety measures at the high rise buildings.
PHA has invested substantial resources – as of July 31, 2020, hundreds of thousands of dollars – in new COVID-19 vendors to better ensure the safety of high rise tenants, including a vendor to sanitize high touch areas of the buildings twice a day, seven days a week, and a vendor to expand the PHA’s security footprint, in part to help ensure compliance with policies outlined below.
While family developments are different in their setup in terms of having less density among apartments, far fewer units per building, and no shared elevators, family development tenants have still been reminded of safety protocols that are necessary to protect the safety of themselves and their communities as well.
1.0 VISITORS TO HIGH RISES AND SOME FAMILY DEVELOPMENT BUILDINGS
- 1.1 The term high rise in this policy applies to Carroll Tower, Dexter Manor I and II, Dominica Manor, Hartford Park Tower, Kilmartin Plaza, and Parenti Villa.
- 1.2 This policy shall also apply to visitors to any family development housing in which a visitor will need to enter a shared entrance, hallway, or stairwell in order to visit the unit. This includes all units at Codding Court and Roger Williams, and some units at Hartford Park and Manton Heights.
- 1.3 Until further notice, visitors to high rises shall be limited to
- 1.3.1 Individuals (including on behalf of businesses) delivering food, medicine or other essential items. Whenever possible, these deliveries should take place outside of the building.
- 1.3.2 Services to provide medical care or home care, as well as provision of utilities. Services being provided to any group of tenants, meaning tenants from more than one unit at a time, must be coordinated with PHA management.
- 1.3.3 “Wellness check” visits by family or friends.
- 1.3.4 Children who are being taken care of by a tenant, if tenants are taking care of children so that their parents or guardians may work, children may visit the building. Children visiting may only be in the hallways or common areas when entering or leaving the building.
- 1.4 Employees of a PHA vendor with a written PHA-approved COVID-19 safety plan shall not be considered visitors for the purposes of this policy.
- 1.5 Visitors in any category must wear masks at any time while inside a building or outside on the grounds of a high-rise development, except when inside a tenant’s apartment. Visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks inside a tenant’s apartment at all times. This shall not apply to visitors under the age of 2 years old.
- 1.6 Anyone with a health reason that they cannot safely wear a mask must check in with the management office of the high rise by phone before they may enter the building and provide the following information:
- Tenant visiting and date visiting
- A statement/affirmation that the visitor is visiting for an essential purpose,
- A statement/affirmation that due to a health reason or disability, the visitor is unable to wear a mask.
- 1.7 Anyone unable to wear a mask who follows the above protocols will be required to enter an elevator without any tenant present except for the tenant they are visiting.
- 1.8 Visitors must make best efforts to remain at least six feet away from any other persons inside of a PHA high rise building or on the grounds.
2.0 LIMITS ON NON-RESIDENTS WHO HAVE COVID-19 symptoms or other potential risks
- 2.1 This policy shall apply to any visitor as defined in Policy 1.0, including those visiting in either a personal or professional capacity, as well as any employee or volunteer of a partner
agency working with the PHA to provide services to tenants. Employees of the PHA entering a building in their work capacity are covered by a separate PHA policy; employees or subcontractors
of a PHA vendor are covered by policy 4.0 below.
- 2.2 No visitor may visit the PHA high rises -including any outdoor grounds – at any time if any of the following apply at the time of visit:
- 2.2.1 They have symptoms which may be symptoms of respiratory Infection, including, but not limited to the following: fever, cough, runny nose, sense of smell, shortness of breath, severe sore throat or muscle aches.
- 2.2.2. They have been in close contact (within 6 feet) within the last 14 days with anyone known to have tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID- 19.
- 2.2.3. They have traveled outside of the state of Rhode Island within the last 14 days to a state that requires quarantine upon return by the Rhode Island Department of Health, except if they have received a negative test result on a test taken after their return to Rhode Island
- 2.2.4. They have traveled outside of the United States within the past 14 days.
- 2.2.5. They have been directed to quarantine by the Rhode Island Department of Health or a medical professional.
3.0 Political campaigning at High Rise developments – As a general rule, PHA is asking candidates and their volunteers to avoid any campaign activities at or around PHA high rise developments.
That being said, we understand that candidates may not have phone numbers for PHA resident voters and may have no other means to contact those voters other than at the building. While PHA prefers that candidates conduct no campaigning at or around the buildings whatsoever, it is putting in place this requirement for those who feel they must do so. In this policy, the term “high rise” will not solely apply to high rise buildings but also any family development building as noted in Section 1.2 above which has shared hallways, entrances, or stairwells.
- 3.1 Political candidates will not be permitted to hold any gatherings for residents of PHA properties on the property.
- 3.2 Political candidates will not be permitted to enter a high rise building and knock on doors inside of the building.
- 3.3 A candidate or his/her volunteers may, if s/he meets all conditions to visit a high rise building listed in section 2.0 above, contact tenants via the buzzers in the entryway of a building. A candidate or volunteer must speak to tenants through the buzzer or ask the tenant to come downstairs to speak outside the building.
- 3.4 If a tenant is unable due to disability to come down and speak to a political campaign volunteer outside the building, the tenant may invite the candidate or volunteer into the building to speak to the tenant in their apartment.
- 3.5 If a candidate or volunteer enters the building at the invitation of a tenant, the candidate or volunteer may not go to any other apartment door other than the one they are invited to. After speaking with the resident, the candidate or volunteer must exit the building and may only contact other tenants through use of the buzzer or by calling tenants.
- 3.6 No flyers may be posted inside or outside of the building for any political candidate.
- 3.7 Any candidate or volunteer may NOT enter any high rise building or surrounding grounds unless
- 3.7.1 He or she is wearing a mask; AND
- 3.7.2 He or she has taken his/her temperature in the past hour and has a temperature below 99.5; AND
- 3.7.3 None of the following scenarios apply:
- 188.8.131.52 They have symptoms which may be symptoms of respiratory infection, including, but not limited to the following: fever, cough, runny nose, sense of smell, shortness of breath, severe sore throat or muscle aches.
- 184.108.40.206 They have been in close contact (within 6 feet) within the last 14 days with anyone known to have tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19.
- 220.127.116.11 They have traveled outside of the state of Rhode Island within the last 14 days to a state that requires quarantine upon return by the Rhode Island Department of Health, except if they have received a negative test result on a test taken after their return to Rhode Island.
- 18.104.22.168 They have traveled outside of the United States within the past 14 days.
- 22.214.171.124 They have been directed to quarantine by the Rhode Island Department of Health or a medical professional.
- 3.8 Candidates and volunteers must make best efforts to remain more than six feet away from any other person while inside a PHA high rise or on the grounds.
- 3.9 Candidates will be held responsible for the actions of their volunteers – to the extent that those volunteers violate this policy.
4.0 Policy for PHA Vendors Conducting Work in a High Rise Building
- 4.1 Vendors who have been duly procured by PHA to conduct work in or around a high rise building may only proceed with work IF the Vendor provides the PHA with a written copy of its COVID-19 control plan as provided to the RI Department of Health, and the Vendor follows such plan daily AND the PHA accepts vendor’s plan in writing (email is sufficient).
- 4.2 Vendors must certify that all its employees and subcontractors working on PHA sites have their temperature taken daily and are screened daily for possible COVID risk to ensure that no person working on PHA site:
- 4.2.1 Has symptoms of respiratory infection.
- 4.2.2 Has been in close contact within the past 14 days with anyone known to have tested positive or been presumed positive for COVID-19.
- 4.2.3 Has traveled outside of the state of Rhode Island, within the last 14 days to a state that requires quarantine upon return by the Rhode Island Department of Health, except if they have received a negative test result on a test taken after their return to Rhode Island.
- 4.2.4 Has traveled outside of the United States within the past 14 days.
- 4.2.5 Has been directed to quarantine by the Rhode Island Department of Health or a medical professional.
- 4.3 The vendor must maintain a record of screening and temperatures taken for employees working at PHA sites.
- 4.4 Vendors who do not have a system in place for employees to have their temperature taken and self-certify each day must work with the PHA to have Vendor staff working on site at PHA high rises go to a PHA temperature-taking site and to complete a written certification.
- 4.5 All persons doing work as employees or subcontractors for a PHA vendor must wear masks at all times while on any PHA site. If those doing work on site can find an outdoor location to have lunch on site where they can maintain six or more feet of distance from coworkers and PHA residents, they may have lunch on site without wearing masks during that time.
- 4.6 The vendor shall notify PHA immediately if vendor becomes aware that any employee or subcontractor working on the PHA site has tested positive or is presumed positive for COVID-19. The vendor will not be required to divulge the personal identifying information of such individual(s).
- 4.7 If any vendor employee or subcontractor plans to re-enter working on a PHA site after having tested positive, the individual shall have a negative test result and shall not have had a fever or COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication. Said person shall certify to this in writing before entering any PHA site.