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Focusing on recovery and back to work strategy

The virtual event focused on how property managers and retailers were preparing to go back to work amid COVID-19


June 23, 2020
By Alanna Fairey
Alanna Fairey

Topics

TORONTO — On June 16, Canadian Security hosted a virtual event called “Focus on Recovery: A Guide for Property Managers and Retailers”, which helped to provide industry segments of Retail and Commercial with a blueprint on recovery steps, learnings and best practices amid COVID-19.

Moderated by Canadian Security editor Neil Sutton, panelists for the virtual event included:

  • David Sulston, director of security, Oxford Properties
  • Jody Reid, security manager, H&R REIT, The BOW
  • Roy Manias, senior director, security and life safety, national security operations, Cadillac Fairview
  • Covell Phillips, vice-president, client services, Paragon Security
  • David Sinkinson, co-founder & CEO, AppArmor

The panelists answered the question that has been looming over everyone’s mind: what are property managers doing to prepare their premises for back to work?

Speaking on behalf of Oxford Properties, Sulston shared that going back to work involves restricting access and adding directional signage.

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Sulston went on to explain that these restrictions take the form of reducing the number of people on elevators, installing hand washing stations and putting up signage to describe what the property is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

PHOTO: Canadian Security

Sinkinson shared that AppArmor’s recovery plan will prioritize the health and safety of employees and customers.

“Our game plan is certainly to return to the office when John Tory [Toronto’s mayor] says we can,” Sinkinson said. “What we plan on doing is having staff come in some days of the week, while some work remotely. And then that switches, about halfway through the week.”

Sinkinson also emphasized that his team has been taking advantage of Zoom to communicate on the steps to be taken for recovery.

Manias shared that one of the best practices that Cadillac Fairview did in preparation for reopening involved reaching out to public health inspectors prior to the openings.

“You really start to understand expectations when you’re working closely with public health in advance,” Manias said.

“We’re learning how many people are going to be allowed in the building, and then putting plans into place to make sure that those occupancy loads are maintained — the best guidance I can provide is to reach out to your public health inspector.”

Manias also shared that security will play a vital role in recovery, calling security professionals “ambassadors”.

“They are very much going to be educating, and then managing occupancy loads and working with the health inspectors,” Manias said.

Reiterating that security guards were deemed as essential workers at the beginning of the pandemic, Phillips said that Paragon’s security guards continue to be essential in maintaining building operations.

“They’re essentially an extension of the property management team 24/7, by enforcing the rules and regulations of the respective properties, educating their tenants and visitors to the properties and investigations are with new norm is going to be from a technology standpoint,” Phillips said. “In terms of technology, I had to look at ways to support the frontline security staff.”

Phillips went on to explain that as  the city begins to reopen, Paragon will continue to look into ways of educating the visitors and attendants, to the new moment building in terms of elevator occupancy and social distancing in the common areas.

In conclusion, the panelists agreed that for businesses that are in the reopening phase, they should consider reaching out to their public health representatives, getting signage in place, adding hand sanitizer stations and following entry and exit requirements is most important.

The full panel discussion can be viewed on-demand on our website.