Opening During COVID

Guidance and a Rating System from WELL

Opening During COVID

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The WELL Health-Safety Rating is designed to help guide organizations to evidence-based best practices for operating through this crisis, as well as for long-term preparedness on other critical health and safety issues.


As the year has rolled on, we have continued to develop our understanding of the impacts and threats of COVID-19. While we were once sheltering in place and wiping off every package from the grocery store with bleach wipes, we've largely adapted as new knowledge has been gained. As we're bringing people back into our buildings, we are doing our best with the knowledge on hand to provide a safe environment. It can be extremely helpful to have a set of guidance to refer to as well as a way to prove to your tenants that you have policies and procedures in place that will protect them. WELL has provided us a tool for exactly this.

WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management

"The WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and facility types focusing on operational policies, maintenance protocols, stakeholder engagement and emergency plans.

Designed to empower owners and operators across large and small businesses alike to take the necessary steps in order to prioritize the health and safety of their staff, visitors and other stakeholders, the WELL Health-Safety Rating can help guide users in preparing their spaces for re-entry in a post-COVID-19 environment, instilling confidence in occupants and the broader community. The rating, which consists of a subset of relevant features from the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™) adapted for facility operations and management, was informed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but has broader applicability for supporting the long-term health and safety needs of people in a given space." (WELL)

This Rating was developed in March of this year by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). They gathered a group of nearly 600 public health experts, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals with the goal of developing a guidance and standard that the world could use to help prevent the spread of COVID. This team of experts recognized that safety within buildings, when we spend 90% of our time indoors, would be one of the most crucial aspects of controlling the disease and protecting the people. 

Rating Factors

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is a subset of the WELL Building Standard, focused specifically on facilities operations and management during a public health crisis and will continue to be adapted as new information is gained as it is fundamentally an evidence-based rating system. The rating system includes 21 features across the following core areas, a minimum of 15 which need to be met:

  • Cleaning and Sanitization Procedures
  • Emergency Preparedness Programs
  • Health Service Resources
  • Air and Water Quality Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Communication

Bring People Back Safely

If you are preparing to bring your people back but want to feel confident you're doing everything you can to provide a safe and healthy environment, there are several building standards that can help. Emerald Built Environments can help you determine the best one for your building and help you establish a plan to put it into action. 

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