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As we reopen our economy, small business owners may need to manage a facility idled by the COVID-19 pandemic. (We define an idle facility as a building that is not in operation but has many items remaining in the building.)

Specific precautions and directions are needed to safely and properly reopen an idle facility. Among issues that will need to be addressed are sanitation, electric, fire protection and other facility-specific operations.

Recommendations from Nationwide’s My Loss Control Services

The following procedures can help you and your occupants reopen an idle or closed facility:

  • Follow CDC recommendations throughout the reopening
  • Continue to follow your emergency plans and business continuity plans during this stage
  • Remove any accumulation of debris, both outside and inside the building

Areas to address to help you reopen idle facilities successfully


  • Continue to provide guards as needed during off-hours
  • Continue using and testing any security alarms with notification to a central station
    • If there is no current guard service or burglar alarm provided, consider obtaining an on-site guard service and/or a security alarm
    • Nationwide’s preferred security system provider is Deep Sentinel, a provider that uses artificial intelligence and human monitoring to help stop crimes before they happen
  • Maintain the use and function of all exterior lighting
  • Inspect the facility's exterior and interior for past break-ins, damage, vandalism and theft and report it to law enforcement

Life safety

  • Inspect and confirm that all entry and exit markings, alarms and lights are in place and operational
  • Confirm that all entry and exit doors and door hardware are operating satisfactorily and are free of obstructions


  • Inspect for any damage to your electrical distribution system; repair as necessary
  • Power up your facility per building standards


  • Confirm that the system is operational; repair as necessary
  • Clean and replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer and meet all CDC requirements

Fire protection

  • Inspect and recharge all fire extinguishers
  • Physically inspect all automatic sprinkler valves for the fully open position
  • Test all fire protection alarms (smoke, flow and tamper) and confirm with the central station

Hot work

Review and continue to implement your facility’s hot work (welding, etc.) permit system.

Machinery and equipment

  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and procedures for startup of all equipment and machinery
  • Retrain employees as necessary on the safe operation of machinery


  • Hire a professional to inspect roofs for any water leaks or damage; repair as necessary
  • Remove any debris found on roofs
  • Inspect all roof drains for debris blockages; remove or clean as necessary

Other resources

For a complete list of suggestions, read the My Loss Control Services article about reopening idle facilities after COVID-19 closures.1

For more details on managing a closed or idle facility, read the My Loss Control Services article on maintaining closed or idle work facilities.2

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The information contained in this blog was obtained from sources believed to be reliable to help users address their own risk management and insurance needs. It does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the suggestions. Nothing in this brochure is intended to imply a grant of coverage.