Coronavirus-Related Resources for Heating Fuel Dealers
Updated as of April 03, 2020 04:59 PM
NEFI's highest priority is the health and safety of our members and colleagues in the heating fuel industry as well as their employees and customers. To help protect your business and our industry, we remain in contact with federal officials and our state association partners, and we will continue to coordinate with them in order to provide the best information and resources on COVID-19.
On this webpage, you will find recommended business practices, helpful online resources and important contact points, all of which are provided to assist your company in delivering essential heating, energy and fuel services. In addition, you will find updates on NEFI's affinity programs and upcoming events as well as the latest NEFI communications on the coronavirus. Note: this page will continue to be updated as additional information and resources become available.
It is absolutely imperative that your company takes immediate precautions to protect the health and safety of your employees and customers. NEFI recommends the following actions. As always, please contact your company physician and legal counsel.
Please note: the coronavirus is highly contagious; it has an incubation period of up to two weeks, during which individuals could be asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms yet remain capable of spreading the virus. When an individual is symptomatic with a fever (100.4° or higher) or dry cough, the virus is even more likely to spread. In addition to implementing the recommended practices below, NEFI strongly recommends consulting the CDC website as well as a company physician and legal counsel.
Recommended Practices for Everyone
Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and running water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Implement social distancing measures, including maintaining six feet of distance from colleagues, employees and customers whenever possible.
Avoid contact with any individuals who are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, including fever, coughing and/or shortness of breath.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.
Communicate regularly with suppliers, employees and customers to keep them informed of any changes to your business.
Recommended Practices for Company-Customer Interactions
Whenever possible rely on phone, text, email, teleconferencing, or other electronic communication methods to communicate with customers, instead of in-person conversations.
If available, wear facemasks and gloves on all service calls. Follow established glove and mask protocols, including proper disposal.
If your company offers online delivery/service requests and payments, encourage customers to pay their bills online and to call your office only in the event of a no-heat emergency or equipment shutdown.
Fuel deliveries made to customers' homes present low risk factors. However, if possible, send delivery and service invoices by mail or switch to electronic invoicing instead of leaving invoices at the door.
Avoid all direct contact with customers and maintain the maximum distance possible: at least six feet.
On service calls, if the customer has separate access to their heating or air conditioning system, try to request in advance that they make the area available to you directly, e.g., opening bulkheads, cellar doors, etc.
If the unit is a hot air or air conditioning system, try to avoid opening parts of the system through which air flows, including filters. Rather than installing filters, leave them for the customer to install.
Before entering a customer's home, if anyone is present, ask if they or anyone in the household is sick in any way or experiencing symptoms, including fever, coughing and/or shortness of breath. If the customer answers in the affirmative, contact your employer for further instructions prior to entering.
Recommended Practices for Employer-Employee Interactions
Follow the guidelines above for minimizing risk of exposure.
Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched frequently. These include desks, keyboards, office and mobile phones, doorknobs, faucet handles, vehicle door handles, steering wheels, etc.
If possible, instruct delivery and service personnel to perform their duties without interacting in person with office staff. For example, electronically send work orders, delivery tickets and driver routes.
Sick employees are a risk to others. CDC recommends home quarantine for 14 days.
Allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members or for children if childcare is otherwise unavailable.
Some companies are instituting a practice of taking employee temperatures before they enter the workplace and disallowing entry to anyone with a temperature of 100.4° or higher.
Where possible, segment work teams into isolated smaller units so that an outbreak in one unit doesn't necessarily affect all.
There are many rapidly changing laws and regulations related to sick time, paid leave and essential employees. Contact your state or local association as these differ dramatically depending on location and continue to change as the situation evolves.
Other Important Resources
Federal Information & Resources
FMCSA Expanded Emergency Declaration - NOTE: In keeping with NEFI's request, this expanded hours-of-service waiver applies to fuel but only if it is delivered in support of COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. Drivers should keep a copy in their cabs at all times.
Additional resources and guidance provided by national organizations for other products and services are below. Note: NEFI was not involved in the creation of these resources and does not have direct affiliation these organizations.
Due to widespread concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak, and as a precaution to protect the health and safety of our colleagues in the heating fuel industry, NEFI has decided to reschedule all educational events previously scheduled for the month of April.
This includes the NextGen Leadership Planning Session previously scheduled for April 7, the NEFI Energy Leaders Program at Dartmouth College previously scheduled for April 19-23, and the NEFI Management Development Program Launch at Quinnipiac University scheduled for April 28 (however, online courses remain on track). New dates, times and other changes for these programs will be announced in the weeks ahead.
In addition, starting in April, all NEFI staff and board meetings will be held electronically. Remote access details will be provided via email in advance of the meetings.
The organizers of the 2020 HEAT Show are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and taking guidance from federal and state officials in coordination with Rhode Island Convention Center staff. The HEAT Show is slated for September 21-23, and we do not anticipate any disruption to the event schedule at this time. Registration for HEAT Show attendees, exhibitors and sponsors is available on the event website.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has provided additional guidance for paid sick and family medical leave provisions required by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). New federal leave… Read More»
Below is a brief summary of federal legislation, not intended as legal advice. Effective dates and implementation timelines for the different provisions of this bill will vary. NEFI will provide… Read More»
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a waiver of Commercial Driver's Licenses, Learner's Permits and commercial motor vehicle medical certifications that expired on or… Read More»
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released some important updates, below. This includes announcements by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Pipeline & Hazardous… Read More»
At the direction of President Trump, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is moving its deadline for tax filings from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The IRS said the move is necessary due to the ongoing… Read More»
On March 18, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service and other regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers… Read More»
President Trump is Expected to Sign the Bill. This afternoon the Senate gave final approval to emergency legislation that would, among other things, guarantee sick and family leave for certain workers… Read More»
On February 13, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting… Read More»
The Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a… Read More»
Coronavirus cases are appearing throughout the United States and could soon become numerous. I am writing to update you on how NEFI is responding and where you can find information and resources for… Read More»