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BLOG / 03.19.20 /Jack Malley

Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Requiring 75% Reduction In On-Site Workforce At All Locations; Union and Real Estate Industry Assert that Building Service Personnel and Managing Agents Provide “Essential Services.”

Governor Cuomo has ordered that all New York businesses, including not-for-profit businesses, shall utilize to the extent possible all telecommuting and work from home procedures. Further, the Governor ordered that every employer in the state shall reduce its in person workforce at all locations by 75% no later than March 20 8 p.m. This Order supersedes yesterday’s Order mandating a 50% reduction.

Businesses identified as “essential” are not subject to the in-person restrictions. Essential businesses include essential healthcare operations; essential infrastructure including utilities; telecommunication; airports and transportation infrastructure; essential manufacturing, including food processing and pharmaceuticals; essential retail including grocery stores and pharmacies; essential services including trash collection, mail and shipping services; news media; banks and related financial institutions; providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations; construction; and vendors of essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses.

Union Local 32BJ in Manhattan, supported by the Realty Advisory Board (in NYC) and the Builders and Realty Institute (in Westchester), assert that neither order covers residential building service workers (supers, porters etc.), based on the highlighted exception. An argument can also be made that managing agents are “vendors” that are essential for the safety and sanitation of residences, since someone needs to supervise, direct, order supplies, pay for supplies, collect common charges, maintenance, and rent.

Industry associations have asked for clarification from the Governor. In the meantime, owners should use their judgment as to how to implement the Order. The Governor’s office will conduct an ongoing evaluation as to whether any other businesses qualify as essential.