Rheinhardt & Bray COVID-19 Response Plan
Challenges like we face now present opportunities for us to come together as a community, to watch out and care for each other, and to envision and build toward a brighter future. It is up to all of us to focus our attention on helping each other and our most vulnerable family, friends and community members. We will weather this storm, and be better for it when it passes.
For our part, we are extremely pleased that New York State has deemed Rheinhardt & Bray, PC an “essential business” and granted us permission to remain open. That also means that you will be able to visit our offices as needed and pursuant to the protocols below. We recognize that now more than ever, many of us understand the importance of having our legal and financial matters secure and under control. Therefore, we will continue to be available on a full time basis at both offices (Rome and Ilion) and/or remotely to provide a full range of services in a manner that (1) protects the health and well being of all of our clients and staff, and (2) complies with governmental directives and guidelines. We will also continue to work on all current client matters to see them through to completion in a timely manner. We have implemented procedures and protocols to meet your needs and our goals, as follows:
- Visits and Meetings. All office visits and meetings will be available on a limited and need basis by appointment only. “Need” means that there is no reasonable remote option (telephone or electronic) available or feasible. If you schedule an office appointment, we will provide you with our “Office Visit Protocol,” which outlines the steps we will require and take to enhance health safety.
- Consultations. All consultations will be conducted by telephone or audio-visual conferencing, unless not available or feasible.
- Signings, Pick Up and Delivery. Signings will be conducted electronically unless not available or feasible. Document pick up and delivery at both offices will be available. If you will be signing, picking up or delivering documents to one of our offices, we will provide you with our “Document Signing, Pick Up and Delivery Protocol.”
- Out-of-Office Meetings. All out of office meetings (home, hospital, nursing home, etc.) will be conducted by telephone or audio-video conferencing.
We welcome suggestions from you, our present and prospective clients to tell us how we can continue to meet your needs while we navigate these uncharted waters. Above all, stay healthy and hopeful. Better days are coming!
Office Visit Protocol
We feel fortunate that we have been permitted to keep our offices open during this time. However, for your safety and ours, visits will be limited and restricted. If you are sick, or have been exposed to someone you know is sick, you should reschedule your appointment. In order to limit your risk of exposure, we will limit office meetings to one meeting per office per day. We will also restrict the areas in the offices where clients are permitted to visit, so that we can limit the cleaning that we will do after each and every visit. Please know that we would love to shake hands and share pictures of grandchildren, but prudence dictates that at this time we must minimize contact.
For general hygiene purposes, we have adopted the New York State Department of Health guidance regarding cleaning and disinfection of public and private facilities, and non-healthcare facilities which are attached.
Protocols for office visits are as follows:
- Appointments Only. All office visits will be by appointment only. (No drop-ins are permitted for any reason). For the health safety of staff and scheduled visitors, office doors will be locked otherwise.
- Social Distancing. Meetings will be conducted so that a distance of at least six (6) feet is maintained between visitors and staff.
- Pre and Post Visit Hygiene. Visitors will be encouraged to wash their hands upon arrival, and will be given an alcohol wipe upon leaving.
- Common Areas and Surfaces. Although we will clean common areas after visits, to the extent possible, visitors should limit contact with office furniture and furnishings, and should refrain from placing personal property like car keys and cell phones on office furniture.
- Pens and Documents. We will not share pens, and you may take the pen you use for signing with you, or we will dispose of it. Because the virus can live for sometime on paper products. All documents to be signed or delivered will be printed at least 24 hours before signing or delivery, and will not be touched by anyone other than you until after you have signed. No staff person will handle your documents within 24 hours of your signing, so you will not take your signed documents with you. We will make arrangements before your leave for how you would like to receive your signed documents.
Document Signing, Pick Up and Delivery Protocol
Document signing, pick up and delivery present two problems: (1) some signings must be conducted with visual observation, and (2) paper can become and remain contaminated for up to 24 hours (according to recent studies). Therefore, we have implemented protocols to handle document matters.
- In Office Signings. Please refer to “Office Visit Protocol,” attached. In office signings will be offered only in those circumstances where remote signings are not feasible or permitted, i.e. where the client is unable or the law does not permit documents to be signed under telephonic or audio-video supervision. (Please note that notarizing may now be accomplished remotely by video supervision, subject to rules which we will explain at the time of scheduling signing.)
- Document Pick Up and Delivery. Please refer to “Office Visit Protocol,” attached. We will print and/or assemble documents for pick up at least 24 hours before you are scheduled to pick up documents, and no one else will handle them in the meantime. We will provide a receptacle or area for you to place delivered documents, and we will not handle them for at least 24 hours after delivery.
- Remote Signings. Unless documents are required to be witnessed in person, (e.g. Wills), we can supervise signing by telephone or audio-video conferencing (unless notarizing is required, when only audio-video conferencing is permitted). In those cases, we will either mail documents to you, or email in pdf form for download and printing, as you wish. We will even do “curbside” signings where you can receive the documents by mail or email, drive to the office, sign while remaining in your vehicle, and place them in a receptacle so that we can take them into the office. We will hold them for 24 hours before handling them for witnessing or notarizing, and then either mail them to you or you may pick them up (see 2. Above).