Hello again NWHPBA Community,

As information is rapidly changing, one of our top priorities is keeping our membership and community informed. Please see below for state by state information. If you are having difficulties finding the information you need, please reach out to us at nwhpba@aminc.org.
NWHPBA Retail Members 
Under the “essential business” lists in both Washington and Idaho, you are considered an “essential service” or business because you sell home appliances and you service appliances in homes and businesses (particularly in helping to keep those appliances working in a safe manner). So, you CAN stay open. And you can certainly stay open for all service-related work. However, you do need to make sure you meet the requirements for social distancing — see the points & the full document below from one of our Board Members, Daniel Hammer, on things you should be doing to keep your employees and customers safe:

  • Once we determined we were essential we looked into whether there was anything else we had to do to keep our doors open. It turns out that it's not enough to be essential, you must also do the following:
  • Write a social distancing, illness monitoring, and cleaning/sanitizing plan explaining and mandating the following
  • Nominating an employee to be the social distancing and sanitation officer. Their job is to ensure the following items are adhered to.
  • 6 feet of required distance between employees and between employees and customers at all times.
  • This may require adjusting staff levels and/or schedules to meet the 6 feet of separation. We've adjusted schedules to ensure we have a small enough number of employees that we can maintain required distances.
  • Employees may not congregate in groups with each other or with customers.
  • Daily cleaning and disinfecting of all shared surfaces such as desks, counters, computers, phones, door handles, etc. A log must be created and filled out each day to ensure this is done. We made a log for each area of the store (showroom, back offices, breakroom, warehouse, installation department, service department, etc)
  • Daily check in with each employee to ensure that they are not showing symptoms of illness. Specifically, it must be verified that they do not have a temperature and that they do not have respiratory symptoms. If any employee reports either they must be sent home. A log must be created and filled out each day to ensure this is done. We made a log for each department and placed the responsibility on the managers to fill it out with their staff each day.
  • Signs up in the showroom for customers letting them know that social distancing is required while on the premises and that if they are sick they must not enter and to go home.

See more tips from Sutter Hearth in Response to COVID-19 by clicking the button below.
For Permits
We encourage all NWHPBA members to go to their permitting jurisdiction websites or call the offices to see if you can still pull permits for work. Many jurisdictions are facilitating online or other electronic means for permits and inspections but it varies widely so please check with your local offices.
Washington State
Governor Inslee has issued a clarification for construction. So far, Washington state is one of only two states that have not considered construction an “essential business.” The new guidance states:

“In general, commercial and residential construction is not authorized under the proclamation because construction is not considered to be an essential activity.
"However, an exception to the order allows for construction in the following limited circumstances: 
a) Construction related to essential activities as described in the order;
b) To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or
c) To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.
"To that end, it is permissible for workers who are building, construction superintendents, tradesmen, or tradeswomen, or other trades including, but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laborers, sheet metal, iron workers, masonry, pipe trades, fabricators, heavy equipment and crane operators, finishers, exterminators, pesticide applicators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC technicians, painting, moving and relocation services, forestry and arborists, and other service providers to provide services consistent with this guidance.
"All construction activity must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding.”

This will impact the builders you work with and your business. However, under b — home repairs are allowed. Under c — service is allowed. Home heating is an essential service still so I expect this new clarification will impact primarily new construction at this point in time.  Talk to the contractors you work with to find out what they need from you as this moves forward.

  • Even though it is not required, NWHPBA does urge all Washington State members to be registered as essential businesses by going to this link to make sure you have the right documents in the event our state moves to further restrictions — 
  • Your plan to maintain social distancing and both worker and customer safety during the COVID-19 emergency should suffice as a business continuity plan.
  • Your general safety plan also should suffice and “trained response personnel” would be ensuring you have done some training on social distancing and sanitation measures in addition to having someone who is CPR trained.
Important Resources:
United States of America
***U.S. Small Business Administration

Please let us know if you and your business have any specific needs, questions or concerns at this time. We are here to assist and support our members however we can.

Take care,
Amy Ohlinger (NWHPBA Executive Director) & Carolyn Logue (NWHPBA Lobbyist)