Not Today, COVID-19: Home Repairs


Things break, it's a fact of life. Home repairs are still needed during the pandemic, whether it be a leaking roof, a clogged drain, an air conditioner that doesn't work, etc. The prospect of going to a stranger's home and spending an indeterminate amount of time on repairs used to be a trivial matter but with the pandemic, planning ahead of time can ensure repairs can be done effectively and reducing risk of infection and transmission at the same time.


Risk Assessment

The most important thing to do is to assess the risk of disease spread from the activities performed. The level of risk will dictate the controls necessary to prevent spread of COVID-19.


Low Risk Activities

Repairs in the low risk categories are the ones that can be done with nobody else around and where ventilation is provided (e.g., operable windows or ventilation system).


Medium Risk Activities

Medium risk activities include:

  • Performing work that requires more than one worker and following physical distancing requirements whenever possible

  • Performing work that requires the home owner/occupant to be present during the repairs

High Risk Activities

High risk activities include:

  • Performing work that requires more than one worker and physical distancing is not possible

  • Performing work in a home with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19


Prevention Methods Based on Risk

First and foremost, make sure to follow all local public health orders for essential businesses. Some of the most common requirements for essential businesses include:

  • Social distancing plan for workers and the public

  • Cleaning and disinfection protocols for regular business operations and if a confirmed case was identified at the store

Recommended controls, regardless of risk, include the following:

  1. Encourage workers to stay home if they feel sick

  2. Determine if there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the patron's home before dispatching a worker

  3. Implement physical distancing rules for workers

  4. Open windows or run ventilation system to ensure consistent air flow while working

  5. Require a face covering to be worn at all times by workers and request patrons to wear a face covering when interacting with worker

  6. Promote hand hygiene by wearing gloves while working and encouraging frequent hand washing/sanitizing

  7. Establish cleaning and disinfecting protocols for repair areas using EPA-approved cleaners

  8. Reduce contact with patrons as much as possible (e.g., accept payment via phone or online)

For medium risk activities, the following controls can be used:

  • Wear gloves when working with tools/equipment used by multiple users

  • Communicate physical distancing rules to patrons

  • Request patrons to wear a face covering when interacting with worker(s)


For high risk activities, the following controls can be used:

  • Consider declining a job in a home with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case

  • Wear N95 respirator or half-face respirator with P100 filters when working in a home with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case

  • Wear face shields to prevent exposure to droplets when working with another worker(s) and physical distance cannot be maintained

  • Designate partners for workers that have to work together in close contact (within 6 feet of each other for more than 15 minutes)


Recommendations for Patrons

If you require home repair services, follow these steps to reduce your risk of disease transmission:

  • Find out what precautions workers are implementing for COVID-19 prevention

  • Notify the workers if someone in your household is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or has been diagnosed with COVID-19

  • If possible, leave your home during repairs

  • Isolate household members who are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-10 or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 away from the repair area

  • Wear a face covering if you have to interact with the worker(s)

  • Pay for services over the phone or online

Consider holding off on home improvement projects for later to avoid having people outside of your household inside your home.

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