COVID-19 Considerations for Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Management during a pandemic


As we continue to navigate the uncertainties associated with business operations during a pandemic, Great American Environmental collaborated with Russ Nassof of Risknomics to present a webinar focusing on best practices for building facilities management, control measures and business re-opening and recovery.

Did you know? One of the most researched areas of COVID-19 relates to the transmissibility and viability of the virus.

There are still many unknowns when it comes to the spread of the virus, however it is well known that it is far more contagious than the flu. The SARS-CoV-2 is an envelope virus, meaning that it is hosted in a tiny capsule of protein filled with genetic materials, or RNA. The RNA cannot spread without the host of the protein capsule, meaning that detection of RNA does not necessarily mean that it is viable and still able to successfully transmit the virus.

The table below depicts the viability of SARS-CoV-2 over time based on the environmental transmitter.

Environmental Condition Viability/Stability Half Life
Aerosol 3 hours 1.1.-1.2 hours
Plastic 72 hours but virus titer reduced from 103.7 to 100.6/ml 6.8 hours
Stainless Steel 48 hours but virus titer reduced from 103.7 to 100.6/ml 5.6 hours
Copper After 4 hours - no viability 1 hour
Cardboard After 24 hours - no viability 3.8 hours
Environmental Condition Stability/Viability
Printing/Tissue Papers 3 hours
Treated Wood/Cloth 2 days
Glass/Banknotes 4 days
Stainless Steel/Plastic 7 days
Surgical Masks 7+ days

Business Continuity Plans

business continuityWhen addressing business continuity plans, it is important to create a Pandemic Preparedness and Response Program (PPRP) by assembling a Risk Management Team.

This team should perform a Risk Assessment in order to define concerning exposures and develop a comprehensive action plan to ensure all employees are apprised of current laws and regulations enforced by state and local governments. In preparation, it is also important that employees receive a health and safety training and access to Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

If a business has endured an extended closure, as a result of COVID-19 shutdown, it is important to address potential issues prior to allowing the business to re-open and transitioning employees back into the building. When a facility is vacant for an extended period of time, there is greater potential for issues with water intrusion and mold to occur, which can lead to larger issues such as Legionella and waterborne pathogens. Performing routine checks on plumbing and HVAC systems prior to re-occupying the building will help to mitigate associated risk.

Want to learn more about risk management during a pandemic? View our available resources exclusively designed for our brokers.

We remain committed to ensuring the highest level of service during these extraordinary times. Being responsive to the needs of our brokers, agents, insureds and claimants remains our top priority. As a division, we pride ourselves on rising to meet major challenges with optimism and determination while remaining focused on the long term.

Even in uncertain circumstances, you can be confident that our team is taking measures to provide seamless continuity in our service to you.

Thank you for your business and continued support, if you have additional questions pertaining to the information provided, please feel free to contact Sara Brothers.

Our division is adhering to the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For additional information about COVID-19, visit

Sara Brothers

Sara Brothers Divisional Vice President, Technical Support
Great American Environmental Division

Sara Brothers is a Divisional Vice President with Great American’s Environmental Division. She brings over 30 years of environmental consulting and construction management experience to Great American. Sara’s background is as a senior geologist with extensive consulting and industry experience in the petroleum, industrial, commercial, and government sectors. She serves as the director of technical support as well as training and is based out of our New York office.

Russ Nassof headshot

Russ Nassof, Esq
Executive Vice President of RiskNomics LLC

Russ Nassof has been involved in the field of environmental and health risk consulting for over 25 years – concentrating his work in the areas of industrial hygiene, microbial contamination, toxic tort risk management, insurance defense, and infection control. Many of his risk management programs have been adopted as underwriting standards by the insurance industry and are utilized as risk barometers to evaluate emerging environmental and health-related issues.

He began his career as an attorney in New York in the insurance industry and later became President of a national environmental consulting and expert firm, which was sold to TRC in 2004. RiskNomics was created in 2010 to provide creative health and environmental risk consulting to the insurance, healthcare, and commercial property communities to help enhance safety, reduce costs, and mitigate liability.

RiskNomics provides risk management and consulting services in the environmental and healthcare arenas on a national basis. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, major global insurance companies, corporations, schools districts, law firms, state and local entities. The focus on RiskNomics is to advise and assist our clients in managing potential or existing risks strategically as well as economically.

The information presented in this publication is intended to provide guidance and is not intended as a legal interpretation of any federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations applicable to your business. The loss prevention information provided is intended only to assist policyholders in the management of potential loss producing conditions involving their premises and/or operations based on generally accepted safe practices. In providing such information, Great American does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. It is not intended as an offer to write insurance for such conditions or exposures. The liability of Great American Insurance Company and its affiliated insurers is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwritten by any of them.

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