Safer Federal Workplace - GSA Leased Locations
Leasing Policy, Project and Process Guidance
- Rent Credits/Billing Adjustments: We will continue to pass through rent for leased space assigned to occupant agencies when a building is closed due to any COVID-19 issue. Any rent credits we receive from a lessor due to a closure will be passed through to occupant agencies on their rent bill.
- Released Space Requests: Occupant agencies may request to release space, but standard pricing policy applies. Space must be vacant (no furniture or information technology equipment).
- Closing Buildings: We consider closing a building on a case-by-case basis. The Lease Contracting Officer (LCO) should first contact the occupant agency to see if it is mission critical to remain open and functioning within the leased premises. If so, the lessor must be notified of the need to keep the facility open. Should the lessor notify the federal government of a state or local government stay-in-place order, the LCO must obtain a copy of the stay-in-place order and determine if it applies to federal government employees and contractors. If it does, and if the occupant agency advises the LCO that its offices must remain open, the LCO must notify the lessor that they need to keep the facility open. If a lessor refuses to reopen its building for a mission critical function, the LCO should consult regional counsel, as the federal government has the right to occupy the premises.
- Locking Out: A lessor may not lock out a federal government tenant from a leased building. If an occupant agency advises the LCO that its offices must remain open, the LCO must notify the lessor of the need to keep the facility open. If a lessor refuses to reopen its building for a mission-critical function, the LCO should contact regional counsel, as the federal government has the right to occupy the premises.
- Restricted Access: In GSA leased space, when an occupant agency wishes to restrict access or implement screening procedures, the agency should contact their GSA point of contact (POC) to coordinate with the Facility Security Committee (FSC) and the lessor. The GSA POC will coordinate with the occupant agency, the FSC, and the lessor to determine an appropriate implementation strategy at the lease location.
- Project Delay Costs and Approvals: The federal government is responsible for project delay costs if the occupant agency does not provide access to space for contractors to complete the tenant improvement buildout. Discuss all delay claims with regional counsel first.
- Lease modifications: Lease modifications may only be carried out by the LCO through a lease amendment. There can be no contractually binding communication between the lessor and the occupant agency concerning ongoing construction in leased premises. The LCO must communicate with the occupant agency and then the lessor when this becomes an issue.
- Cleaning and Disinfectant Services Procured by Occupant Agency: Only LCO approval is required, not a delegation. The LCO should notify the lessor that the occupant agency has the authority to procure these services dependent upon dollar threshold. The LCO must respond to the occupant agency in writing that the occupant agency has authority, as long as it follows the directions as issued in previously approved related guidance and uses the approved Cleaning and Disinfection Scope of Work. This notification can be completed by email to both the lessor and the occupant agency simultaneously.
Enhanced Entry Screening Services (EESS) Guidance
- Implementing EESS in leased locations: Leased locations cannot impose Enhanced Entry Screening. While occupant agencies may require COVID-19 screening for their employees or visitors to their offices, they cannot impose such restrictions on other building occupants (i.e., employees, contractors, and visitors). The FSC or the occupant agency should contact the GSA POC. The GSA POC will coordinate with the occupant agency, the FSC, and the lessor to determine how to put the procedures into place within the confines of the occupant agency’s space.
- EESS responsibilities in leased locations: Consistent with the Federal Management Regulation and OMB Memorandum M-20-23, each FSC is responsible for deciding enhanced entry screening procedures at the GSA-controlled facility where it is constituted. These screenings could include implementing a set of questions to be asked upon entry, temperature checks or other screening methods. To implement enhanced entry screening procedures at a GSA-controlled facility, the building’s FSC must convene, either in person or virtually. After consulting the GSA facility manager and the FPS representative, it must vote to adopt such procedures. In GSA-controlled leased space, when the FSC wishes to restrict access or implement screening procedures, the occupant agency must contact its GSA POC to coordinate with the FSC and the lessor. The GSA POC will coordinate with the occupant agency, the FSC, and the lessor to determine how to implement the procedures within the confines of the occupant agency's space.
- Federal Judiciary procedures: In facilities occupied by the federal judiciary, the GSA facility manager, the FPS representative, and the U.S. Marshals Service representative must meet to discuss EESS. If the FSC votes to adopt such procedures, it must review the minimum enhanced entry screening procedures included in the EESS Sample Performance Work Statement to determine if the minimum procedures described in the sample work statement are sufficient or if additional procedures are needed. If the FSC determines that additional procedures are needed, the FSC must provide a list of those procedures to the GSA facility manager within 24 hours of the vote, to include in the final performance work statement.
- Process to implement EESS: Once the FSC has decided to implement enhanced entry screening procedures, checked that the required funding is in place, and developed an enforcement strategy, the GSA project team, including the Lease Administration Manager “LAM), the Lease Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) and the LCO will determine an appropriate acquisition strategy if using GSA’s procurement resources to acquire the services.
- Funding to implement EESS:
Funding for EESS depends on the occupancy of the facility. In single-occupant, GSA-controlled facilities, the occupant agency is solely responsible for funding the cost and must either provide the Public Buildings Service (PBS) with a reimbursable work authorization (RWA) or, in coordination with the GSA facility manager, procure the services directly. In a multi-occupant, GSA-controlled facility, if the FSC votes to implement enhanced entry screening procedures, the occupant agencies are responsible for providing the funding based on their pro rata share of rentable square footage in the facility. In these cases, if requesting GSA to perform the work, the occupant agencies must provide PBS with a reimbursable work authorization (“RWA”) for their pro rata share of the estimated cost.
Leased Procurement Guidance
- CDC Signage: GSA personnel are regularly monitoring disease transmission levels via the CDC COVID Data Tracker [PDF]. Facility Managers are engaging with the Facility Security Committee and will coordinate with our lessors concerning posting appropriate mask-wearing and/or other relevant COVID-19 signage for building occupants, contractors, and visitors in response to transmission levels and in accordance with current CDC guidance. In accordance with the Federal Management Regulation Title 41, Code of Federal Regulation, Part 102-74 Subpart C, Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property, Conformity with Signs and Directions (41 CFR 102-74.385), GSA will work in coordination with its private sector landlords to post signage at the entry to multi- tenant leased facilities where the government leases 100% of the leased building.
- The occupant agency is responsible for posting any necessary signage at the entrance to its occupied area, including the building entrances, if it is the sole occupant of the entire facility. The Occupant agency is also responsible for posting signage at the entrance to their own leased space when in multi-tenant leased locations that also include non-government tenants. GSA is ONLY responsible for posting signage in leased locations when the leased building is 100% occupied by federal tenants. In GSA-controlled delegated facilities, the occupant agency responsible for operation and maintenance is responsible for obtaining and displaying all necessary signage.
- Lessors are responsible for procuring and placing signage in the common areas of leased locations. Since posting pandemic signage is not outlined in the lease, GSA cannot require the lessor to post signage within GSA leased space.
- If a facility is in an area of high or substantial transmission, or if the local area requires masks, the Lease Administration Manager (LAM) will engage with the Facility Security Committee (FSC) and coordinate with the lessor to post signs indicating masks are required [PDF - 6 MB] for all persons wishing to access GSA leased space, and ensure the entry signage [PDF - 114 KB] is also posted at the building exterior entrances as necessary. If the facility is not located in one of those areas, signage should be posted that “fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask in public indoor settings unless required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.” Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear masks and physically distance themselves.
- If the facility’s local area transmission status changes to high or substantial later on, or if the locality implements a mask requirement, the LAM will coordinate with the Lessor to post signs indicating masks are required [PDF - 6 MB] for all persons accessing the leased space and in the common leased areas and shared workspaces. Also, if approved by the landlord, entry signage [PDF - 114 KB] will be posted at the building entrances, if it is not already posted.
- GSA Facility Managers will reach out to the Facility Security Committee (FSC) or equivalent networks to inform occupant agencies of this operational change, and also make this signage available for occupant agency use within their leased space. The GSA Facility Manager will inform the FSC and lessor that neither GSA nor the Department of Homeland Security - Federal Protective Service [PDF - 127 KB] will ask people for their vaccination status when entering a GSA leased space. Individuals will determine their own vaccination status and follow the appropriate mask and social distancing requirements associated with their particular status and with the current local transmission status of COVID-19 infections before accessing GSA leased space.
- Face Mask Signage
- In GSA leased space, when face masks are required, GSA will post signage only at building entrances and common areas if GSA leases the entire facility and the lessor allows for and approves.
- The occupant agency is responsible for posting any necessary face mask signage within its leased space. GSA is providing print-ready signage PDFs for tenant interior spaces in the workspace section. They must coordinate with the building’s Designated Official (DO), FSC, and facility manager, if proposing to post any signage in the building’s entrances or leased common areas. Posting must be coordinated with the Lessor. Signage may be ordered from signage vendors on the Multiple Awards Schedules.
- Occupant agencies must implement accommodations that allow for persons unable to access an occupant agency’s workspace as a result of the requirement to wear a mask to continue to obtain any federal government benefits or services to which the person is entitled.
- In GSA-controlled delegated facilities, the occupant agency responsible for operation and maintenance is responsible for obtaining and displaying any necessary signage. Signage removal will be in keeping with any issued CDC Guidelines.
- Face Masks when accessing space under lease to GSA:
- Consistent with current guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and in accordance with the direction provided in Executive Order 13991, issued January 20, 2021, entitled Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, all federal employees and contractors must wear masks in leased space located in areas of substantial or high community transmission and in areas where mask-wearing is required by the lessor or local jurisdiction, regardless of vaccination status.
- Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask in GSA leased space regardless of community transmission level. In areas of low or moderate transmission, in most settings, fully vaccinated people generally do not need to wear a mask or physically distance in leased space except where required by the lessor, federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, or regulations. Fully vaccinated individuals however, may choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission.
- All GSA leased space, except for Primary Courthouses and facilities occupied solely by congressional offices are considered to be substantially occupied by executive branch employees or contractors for purposes of this guidance. A Primary Courthouse is a courthouse where the judiciary and judicial-related offices (i.e., the U.S. Marshals Service or the U.S. Attorney, or both) occupy 75% or more of the rentable square footage in the building.
- In Primary Courthouses and facilities solely occupied by congressional offices, the Chief Judge or the Member of Congress, as applicable, must establish the policy to adopt the CDC recommendations or more restrictive measures, or the Facility Security Committee (FSC) must vote to adopt such measures, if an FSC for that facility has been established.
- Lease Location Entry and Common Space Access:
- In GSA leased facilities, consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and in accordance with the Safe Federal Workplace Agency Model Safety Principles, updated 7/27, 2021 and 7/28/2021, this policy applies only to the portion of the building under lease to GSA. When GSA leases the entire building, it applies to the common areas as well.
- In leased buildings, a landlord may, for a period of time, require wearing masks for building entry or access to common space, regardless of vaccination or community transmission status. GSA customer tenants should make every effort to respect landlord entry and common space access requirements.
Outleasing: For purposes of this guidance, GSA leased facilities and leased space do not include outleased spaces or facilities.
United States Postal Service (USPS) Mask Usage Requirement: USPS requires that GSA employees, tenants, visitors, and contractors must comply with USPS face-covering policy when they are in areas in USPS facilities that are also occupied by USPS employees and operations. This includes common area space that is co-occupied by USPS employees. In those circumstances, GSA employees, tenants, visitors and contractors must use face coverings or masks when social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. However, GSA employees, tenants, visitors and contractors are not required to comply with the USPS face-covering policy when they are in USPS leased space that is separated by walls from USPS-occupied areas and that is exclusively occupied by GSA employees, tenants and contractors.
USPS is responsible for posting any signage in USPS facilities and in their immediate work areas on this requirement.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance
GSA is issuing unilateral lease amendments (ULAs) for existing leases to incorporate additional daily cleaning and disinfecting requirements for high contact surfaces in common and high traffic areas.
Lessor instructions include the requirement to wipe down daily all solid, high contact surfaces in
- building common areas (defined as those areas that government’s employees and visitors use or access, and
- within the leased space, using a disinfectant from the EPA-registered list of products identified as effective against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, or other products containing the same active ingredient(s) at the same or greater concentration than those on the list.
Cleaning staff shall use products in accordance with directions provided by the manufacturer. Cleaning staff shall wear disposable gloves (e.g., latex, nitrile, etc.), facemasks, and any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended by the cleaning and disinfectant product manufacturers. Disinfection application and products should be chosen so as to not damage interior finishes or furnishings.
Examples of solid, high contact surfaces in building common and high traffic areas include, but are not limited to, handrails, door knobs, key card scan pads, light switches, countertops, table tops, water faucets and handles, elevator buttons, sinks, toilets and control handles, restroom stall handles, toilet paper and other paper dispensers, door handles and push plates, water cooler and drinking fountain controls.
It does not include agency-owned equipment such as desks, telephones, computers, keyboards, docking stations, computer power supplies, and computer mouse, personal fans and heaters, desk lighting, etc.
The routine cleaning and disinfecting specified in this paragraph shall not extend beyond lease expiration (unless in holdover status) or September 30, 2021, whichever is earlier.
For all new lease actions, GSA has already mandated incorporating this cleaning and disinfecting standard requirement into our lease documents.
Guidance for Confirmed or Suspected Cases in Leased Locations
- Notification and Cleaning: The occupant organization at a GSA leased facility that becomes aware of a COVID-19 incident involving an employee, contractor or visitor of that organization, the organization must immediately notify all of its staff, contract employees and the GSA Facility Manager/LAM. The organization must also notify the Designated Official (“DO”) and the Facility Security Committee (“FSC”) for the facility. Furthermore, the building occupants must notify their visitors that, if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of the visit, the visitor must notify the building occupant. Once notified of an COVID-19 incident , GSA will notify the lessor and provide the date and time of the incident and areas accessed. The GSA Facility Manager/LAM will coordinate with the lessor vacating individuals from potentially affected areas including the impacted individual’s immediate workspace, and to restrict access to those areas to the extent the areas can be restricted without compromising the means of egress in the event of an emergency to protect other building occupants, and to ensure complete cleaning and disinfection of all affected portions of the building. Notifications to POCs for building occupants, contractors, DO and FSC, must be as soon as possible, but not later than 24 hours after the incident was first reported to GSA. When an occupant agency notifies GSA of an COVID-19 incident, they must not send any PII, such as the affected individual’s name, symptoms, COVID-19 status, or any other data that is likely to identify a particular person. GSA must establish if the lessor has a pandemic plan in place that follows CDC guidelines and matches the GSA scope of work. If so, GSA must confirm that the cleaning for the immediate workspace of by the individual with the confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 will be done under General Clause #12, Maintenance of the Property, Right to Inspect. GSA must also confirm whether or not the cleaning will be provided free of charge to the federal government. If not, GSA will negotiate with the lessor to perform the cleaning according to the following directions.
- For confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases, GSA will fund and provide for detailed cleaning and disinfection of the impacted individual's immediate workspace according to CDC guidance, which may exceed GSA's National Custodial Specification or as otherwise described in the lease agreement.
- On a reimbursable basis, GSA will also provide for the cleaning and disinfecting of those portion(s) of the facility not accessed by the infected individual(s) according to the recommended CDC guidance.
- On a reimbursable basis, GSA will provide cleaning and disinfecting services requested by occupant agencies that include, but are not limited to, the following: additional cleaning and disinfecting services that exceed the recommended CDC guidance, increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection services, and the use of special cleaning supplies and materials.
- Lease Administration Manager Role: The LAM will work with a warranted contracting officer to order detailed or supplemental routine cleaning services at or below the SAT. The LAM will discuss with the lessor whether the lessor can provide the cleaning services or whether GSA may be required to procure its own cleaning contractor. The LAM will also notify the Contracting Officer or Lease Contracting Officer of any action.
- Lease Contracting Officer Role: For detailed or routine supplemental cleaning service requests in excess of the SAT, the LCO is responsible for procuring the extra services from the lessor through a lease amendment.
- Occupant Agency Role: For supplemental services not related to a confirmed or suspected coronavirus case, the occupant agency must inform GSA if it plans to fund additional services with an RWA or order and pay the lessor or cleaning contractor directly. Please see the Customer Direct Contracting section for additional details.
- Funding/payment for Additional Cleaning Services: Additional cleaning services in response to both confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in leased facilities are funded as follows:
- In confirmed or suspected case situations, GSA will fund and provide for detailed cleaning and disinfection for portions of the leased premises the individual accessed. Such cleaning will follow the recommended CDC guidance, which may exceed GSA's National Custodial Specification or as otherwise described in a lease agreement.
- The requesting agency must fund an occupant agency request for cleaning and disinfection beyond the areas accessed or that exceed the CDC guidance as a reimbursable service according to the current pricing policy.
- These procedures do not apply to leases that have been delegated to occupant agencies. For such leases, the occupant agency remains responsible for all cleaning and disinfecting services according to the terms and conditions of the delegation agreement and according to the lease.
Supplemental Routine Cleaning Services
- Occupant Agency Direct Contracting: Occupant agencies must contact their GSA property manager and Lease Administration Manager (LAM) to discuss supplemental routine cleaning services. The GSA LAM will coordinate with the Lease Contracting Officer ( LCO) and then discuss with the lessor whether the lessor will provide the cleaning services or whether the occupant agency will procure its own cleaning contractor.
- Costs Below the Micro-Purchase Limit: If the services needed are at or below the micro-purchase limit, the occupant agency may procure the services directly from the lessor and pay for those services according to the existing micro-purchase delegation of authority.
- Costs Above the Micro-Purchase Limit, But Under Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) of $750,000: If the services needed exceed the micro-purchase threshold, but fall below the SAT, the occupant agency must request authority in writing from the GSA LCO. The letter must cite that it has a qualified Contracting Officer (CO) available to carry out the request for the services and that it will use the GSA-provided scope of work (SOW)* developed according to CDC guidelines. Occupant agencies may use a more stringent Statement of Work (SOW) for cleaning and disinfecting based upon mission need, as long as the more stringent SOW is equivalent to or or exceeds the GSA SOW and adheres to CDC guidelines.
- Costs Above the Micro-Purchase Limit and SAT: The GSA LCO will procure cleaning services directly from the lessor, if the occupant agency requests it.
- GSA Cleaning Standards: GSA has notified lessors about cleaning and disinfecting according to current recommended CDC guidelines. GSA will direct lessors to clean according to the current recommended CDC standards. These standards include the routine cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces in common and high-traffic areas. These high-touch surfaces include, but are not limited to: handrails, door knobs, light switches, countertops, table tops, water faucets and handles, elevator buttons, sinks, toilets and control handles, restroom stall handles, toilet paper and other paper dispensers, door handles and push plates, and drinking fountain controls in common and high-traffic areas. GSA will work with lessors to amend all current leases to include this language.
- Agency-Owned Personal Property: CDC recommends disinfecting agency-owned personal property such as desks, workstations, computer accessories, and phones. Agencies are responsible for procuring and providing services and/or products to clean and disinfect these items as desired. This service is also available from GSA on a reimbursable basis, upon request. You can find GSA resources to help you procure disinfecting supplies at www.gsa.gov/coronavirus.
GSA is notifying lessors for all active GSA leases that they are expected, as the landlord, to follow current industry practices by considering the application of the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance concerning building ventilation and water systems.
These building ventilation and water systems guidelines are located in the Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020, under sections “Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system” and “Ensure the safety of your building water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown.”
In accordance with current CDC guidance, GSA recommends lessors consider modifying the engineering controls using the building ventilation system, which may include some or all of the following activities:
- Increase ventilation rates.
- Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for the current occupancy level for each space
- Increase outdoor air ventilation, after taking into account the outdoor air quality of the surrounding area.
- Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV).
- Further open minimum outdoor air dampers (as high as 100%) to reduce or eliminate recirculation. In mild weather, this step should not affect thermal comfort or humidity. However, this may be difficult to do in cold or hot weather.
- Improve central air filtration to the MERV-13 or the highest compatible filter with the filter rack, and seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.
- Check filters to ensure they are within service life and appropriately installed.
- Extend operating hours of systems to increase air exchanges in the building space.
Additional Cleaning Guidance for Leased Space