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Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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COVID-19

The national SSA has many resources and webinars available focused on COVID-19 and our industry.  Click here to access news about COVID-19 and self storage Invitations to register for the webinars are being sent to state and national members, specifically, the primary contact's email address.

For the latest information from New Mexico on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the governor’s office website and your state’s department of health here. Be sure to carefully monitor the situation and check on updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.cdc.gov, regulatory agencies as well as local health officials. 

Please also read the letter from Tim Dietz, SSA President and CEO, that provides resources and information related to states of emergency and pricing restrictions here.   

11/16/20 New Mexico Issues New Business Closure Order

The New Mexico Department of Health issued an order that requires certain businesses to close and permits essential businesses, which expressly includes self storage, to remain open, provided they minimize their operations and staff to the greatest extent possible.

The order is operative from November 13, 2020 until November 30, 2020 (unless otherwise modified or extended).

All essential businesses must comply with the pertinent “COVID-Safe Practices (CSP’s)” section(s) of the “All Together New Mexico: COVID-Safe Practices for Individuals and Employers” that can be accessed here and any identified occupancy restrictions. All businesses must:

  • Limit operations to remote work to the greatest extent possible;
  • Arrange workplace to provide for 6 feet of distance between individuals wherever possible;
  • Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate wherever possible or modify them to minimize contact;
  • Provide for all meetings to take place remotely whenever possible;
  • Ensure all employees have face coverings or masks and wear them in the workplace at all times when in the presence of others, except when eating, drinking or swimming, or unless otherwise advised by a health care provider;
  • Train all employees on daily cleaning and disinfecting protocol, hygiene, and respiratory etiquette (e.g., covering coughs);
  • Make handwashing, sanitizer, and other hygiene support available to employees;
  • Screen employees before they enter the workplace each day. Send employees home who are experiencing the following COVID-19 symptoms related to COVID-19 and direct them to obtain free testing through the Department of Health;
  • Prohibit employees with known close contact to a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 to return to work until authorized by the Department of Health; and,
  • Adhere to all CDC and OSHA guidelines.

Additionally, New Mexico storage operators must comply with the “COVID Safe Practices for Manufacturing, Warehouse, and Food Production” section, which can be accessed here.

Operators should review the order and implement all of the required measures as soon as possible. The NMSSA has prepared a template letter for use by members should a local law enforcement official attempt to close a facility or otherwise restrict operations.

04/08/20 - New Order Limits Self Storage Staff in New Mexico 

On April 6, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham announced the renewal of the public health emergency declaration through at least April 30, 2020, requiring residents to stay at home and adding new operating limitations for certain businesses, including self storage. 

Unlike previous orders and guidance, self storage is specifically described and limited in the new order as outlined below:

“Self-storage facilities should reduce operations to the minimum number of employees necessary to ensure public access to storage units and adequate security for storage units, including a 100% reduction in permanent on-site workforce whenever possible.”

As a result, NMSSA members must tailor their operations to conform with the new state mandate, including reducing or eliminating employees physically working at the facility until at least April 30, 2020.

03/30/2020 - New Leave Law to Impact Storage Industry, Effective April 1

As reported last week, the new federal leave law takes effect on April 1. Employers must provide notice to their employees immediately if they have not done so already. The notice can be found here

SSA’s updated FAQs can be found here. The updated FAQs answer questions on issues such as the posting requirements for the notice and the limited exemption available to employers with fewer than 50 employees. 

The Department of Labor’s complete FAQs can be found here

Employers are strongly encouraged to discuss the new law with their legal counsel. Please email Joe Doherty, jdoherty@selfstorage.org, with any questions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Efforts

Changes to the International Building Code Affect Self Storage - March 2019

With the support of its Code Committee, the Self Storage Association successfully pursued several key changes to the 2021 International Building Code. 

  1. An exception has been added to IBC Section 2902.3.3 to permit an increase in the location (to greater than every other floor) and maximum distance of travel (to greater than 500 ft) for restrooms.  The location and travel distance must be approved by the code official.
  2. The maximum allowable height of sprinklered facilities made of Type IIB materials (unprotected steel) and Type IIIB materials (noncombustible or fire-retardant-treated wood stud exterior walls and any interior construction) has been increased from 3 stories to 4 stories.  The Code continues to have total floor and building square footage limits. 
  3. Pursuant to modified IBC Section 903.2.9, storage facilities are exempt from the automatic sprinkler system requirement if: (1) the total fire area is 12,000 sq. ft. or less; (2) the combined total fire areas are 24,000 sq. ft. or less; (3) the facility is no greater than one story above grade plane; and (4) all storage spaces are accessed directly from the exterior. 

These changes go into effect as they are adopted by local and state governments over the next several years.  Prior to the adoption on the local and state level, storage developers can request that the code official rely on the 2021 changes as acceptable alternative methods of construction pursuant to section 104.11 of the existing International Building Code.

Please email Joe Doherty with any questions or to receive supporting documentation for these changes.

Limited Lines Insurance; Continued Advocacy - May 2019

The New Mexico Legislature passed a self-storage tenant insurance limited-lines license bill in 2017, but the measure was never signed by then Gov. Susana Martinez, and became a pocket veto. SB 378 allows operators to sell tenant insurance under an individual policy as well as commercial, corporate, group or master policies.

To obtain a license, operators must provide the insurance superintendent with a complete list of facilities where policies will be offered, along with a list of employees authorized to sell them. The list must be updated annually, kept for three years and made available to the superintendent upon request. Insurers must also maintain a registry of self-storage locations authorized to sell its policies and make it available to the superintendent upon request, according to the bill.

SB 378 prohibits self-storage employees from receiving commissions for selling tenant insurance based on the number of policies sold, unless the compensation would be considered “incidental” to “overall compensation.” Authorizing insurers must oversee the administration of an operator’s insurance program and provide training to authorized employees who’ll be selling policies to tenants.

The new law goes into effect on July 1

SSA and NM-SSA continue to monitor the state’s efforts to collect gross receipt taxes on the cost of uncovered, outdoor storage.  We plan to work with the state Tax and Revenue Department and, if necessary, the legislature to provide greater clarity and uniformity for storage operators.

We have a history of success in enacting positive change for our members. In the past, we have expanded upon the notification options available to facility operators while also updating vehicle lien laws, saving New Mexico self storage business owners unnecessary expenses. Please contact us if you have any questions.

 

 

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