It’s one thing to start seeing friends, family, and other people you trust again as states reopen following widespread COVID-19 shutdowns. It’s another to let maintenance workers such as plumbers, electricians, and internet technicians – not to mention your landlord or property manager – into your apartment right now. Even though these people are experts at what they do, chances are that you don’t know them well (if at all), so how can you be certain they’ve been safe about avoiding COVID-19? What if you’re asymptomatic and spread it to them? Not to worry, though – here’s how to safely have maintenance workers at your apartment during COVID-19.
Precautions to take before maintenance workers visit
Safeguarding yourself and visiting maintenance workers from COVID-19 begins before they even arrive at your apartment. Prior to your maintenance worker visit, disinfect any high-touch surfaces with which the person might come into contact. Having an electrician over to address a faulty electrical socket? Disinfect the socket surfaces, any doorknobs and countertops in the room, and other potential high-touch areas. Don’t worry about disinfecting any rooms where the maintenance worker won’t go – focus on the spaces they’ll see.
You should additionally ask your maintenance provider ahead of time about any COVID-19 precautions they plan to take. Some companies will require their workers to wear personal protective equipment for both their safety and yours. In some cases, maintenance workers will even disinfect your surfaces as they work (and afterward, too).
Precautions to take while maintenance workers visit
Just before your maintenance worker arrives, put on a face mask. When they arrive, kindly ask them to stand six feet from your apartment door, then open the apartment door, move out of the path between your visitor and where they’ll be going for repairs, and let your maintenance worker in. Most importantly, do not let in a maintenance worker who refuses to wear a face mask.
Be sure to maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any maintenance workers visiting your apartment. If you would normally stay near a maintenance worker to keep a watchful eye on their work and be ready to provide them with any extra tools they might need, stay in another room of your apartment where you can hear the worker. This way, you’ll know they’re getting the job done and can easily bring them any supplies they request. Of course, if the worker uses any supplies that are yours, you’ll want to disinfect the supplies after the worker leaves.
Do whatever you can to avoid touching the same surfaces as the maintenance worker. You don’t necessarily need to leave your apartment to ensure no shared contact. Instead, find hands-free alternatives to interactions that usually involve indirect hand-to-hand contact. For example, if you wind up fronting the payment for repairs – check your lease to see whether you or your landlord is responsible for payment – don’t hand your credit or debit card to the service worker. Recite your credit card information to them instead from a safe six-foot-plus distance.
Precautions to take after maintenance workers visit
Once your maintenance worker leaves your apartment, disinfect any surfaces they touched. These surfaces may include doorknobs, light switches, sink faucets, and other objects involved in the repairs being made. After you finish disinfecting, thoroughly wash your hands using water and soap for 20 seconds. No matter what, do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth until you have washed your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds following a maintenance worker visit.
Having an outsider visit your apartment during the COVID-19 pandemic may feel worrisome, but if you follow these guidelines, you should be safe. If you feel symptoms at any point before the visit, call it off, and if you experience symptoms afterward, follow CDC guidelines for self-isolating and receiving medical attention.