Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Weidner exposes residents to increased risks during a pandemic

Weidner exposes residents to increased risks during a pandemic

 By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez


         Why schedule a major apartment renovation now?

Residents at Retreat at Austin Bluffs in Colorado Springs, Colorado continue to be exposed to contractors during a major renovation in the midst of a pandemic. Weidner has chosen to have all the windows/sliding glass doors replaced plus renovate the entire outside of each building. The office staff is not permitted to tell residents what protocol is being implemented to minimize risk factors, except, "They're wearing PPE."  It is unclear whether the many contractors who go in and out of the apartments are asked the main COVID exposure questions or get temperatures taken.

Contractors do not consistently wear PPE. It is also concerning that other residents may not follow COVID risk reduction protocols, thus creating multiple exposure points for this apartment complex. The residents have not been advised of protocol in place to inform residents of positive COVID results and points of exposure. Residents have been told by management that they will not be reimbursed if exposed or if property is damaged.

Why is a major company such as Weidner intent on completing this type of project during a pandemic and thus exposing residents to health risks? 

If you go to Weidner's corporate office website at  https://www.weidner.com/home.aspx you will see their tag line as "Weidner Cares." Perhaps they need to ask residents how they feel about having their lives disrupted and their health placed at risk for a major, non-emergency, renovation. Some of the concerns include:

 1.    Our children are scheduled to participate in online schooling during the day when these renovations are taking place. The management has not addressed this concern or provided options for where the children are supposed to be during these invasive renovations.

2.    Some residents are unable to move the furniture away from the areas to be renovated due to heavy lifting that is required. The management stated that residents will not be reimbursed for any costs related to moving furniture.

 3.    Management has stated that residents who might get sick during this time of increased exposure will not be reimbursed for medical expenses or time lost from work.

 4.    Management has not provided a document that states what protocol is being used by the contractors to minimize exposure. There is no stated protocol for tracking exposure or notifying residents of positive COVID tested workers.

5.    Residents have observed improper or absent use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) per current CDC guidelines while contractors are on site.

6.    There are NO visible hand washing/sanitizer stations on site.

Given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, it is unclear who thought it would be a good idea to pursue this type of renovation project, thus exposing a large apartment complex filled with residents. Management reported trying to work with residents but are minimizing their concerns. "All the other residents didn't have a problem with this and were given 48 hours notice."  Well, this writer is advocating for those who are too scared to speak up for themselves. If Weidner truly cares about their residents, they would not place them in this situation, and would empower their managers to provide better alternatives.   

Here's the most important thing about this renovation. It is NOT an emergency. There is no risk to anyone's health or loss of property if this renovation is postponed.  This huge scale window replacement/building renovation project can wait. If Weidner really cares.

The US department of Labor has guidelines for this type of situation. 

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Our children matter. Renovations can wait!

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