Many people are asking themselves “What’s the sense of me not going out if I have somebody who’s going out to multiple houses coming to my house?” Home-repair companies were never ordered to put away their tools, however, business practices have shifted to meet the moment. Workers may be required to wear masks and keep their distance from others inside a home, apartment where they are working, according to public health guidelines. Some companies outfit their workers in additional protective gear, such as gloves and booties.
If it is an emergency or serious issue, repairs must be done. Some repairs simply cannot be put off. An untreated electrical shortage could spark a fire. A leaky pipe could cause thousands of dollars of water damage. In those situations, it is necessary to bring in a trained professional.
Remodeling and/or home improvements are another issue. Many homeowners halted such projects when the pandemic hit. But some consultations, walk-throughs and initial meetings are happening online. Talk to your contractors and ask if they have been using any virtual options for providing estimates, quotes and design work. A video call could help avoid at least one unnecessary trip inside the house. Before moving forward, ask your contractors what precautions they are taking considering the pandemic. How do they plan to keep your family safe while working in your home? Does the company have a written policy or procedure for performing work at private residences? Your contractors may also want some assurance from you to make sure they are entering a safe work environment. Be prepared to talk about your own protocol for cleanliness. Respect people coming into your home and try to keep them safe.
Everyone involved should be following CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently. Regularly disinfect high-contact surfaces like countertops and doorknobs and make hand sanitizer available at entry points to the house. Also, you would not want a sick worker coming into your home, so do not let a contractor work in your home if you or someone else in the house is sick. Remodeling is a very intrusive and disruptive process even without the pandemic. If possible, leave your house while the work is being done. If you do not have anywhere else to go, avoid the work area while contractors are present, and keep any high-risk members of the household away from the work site. If possible designate one point of entry and one point of exit for the workspace to limit contact areas.
Be patient with your contractors. You may find that contractors are booked weeks or months in advance. When shelter-in-place orders started taking effect in the spring, many homeowners delayed projects. This has created a bottleneck delaying some projects for months. Lead times for products like cabinetry, windows, and doors have also increased, which in turn can lead to further delays.
To ensure the health of contractors or service technicians and to limit the chance for additional infection, do not call or schedule any home improvements or service appointment if you or anyone in your home is showing symptoms. Cancel any appointments until the risk of infection is gone. Stay educated and up to date about what the situation is like where you live. Make the best choice for your family.