Condo Safety in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Maria Bartolotti, ACCI, FCCI, New Concept Management Inc.
What you need to know to best keep your condos safe
Fears over the COVID-19 virus and its impact are quite valid. On March 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it as a global pandemic, and everyone has been cautioned of the necessity of proper personal hygiene, social distancing and staying home as the best ways to mitigate its spread.
These precautions, however, may not be enough in a multi-family setting, where residents not only live in close proximity but share common space. There is a need to reinforce the message at every opportunity, as the COVID-19 virus is highly infectious and can spread like the common cold.
This poses quite the challenge in environments where people live in close proximity. Indeed, condos are very much like cruise ships on land – contact with people is inevitable at some point.
There is heightened risk of catching the virus from contact in shared common areas, like the elevator, lobby, and amenity rooms. Door handles in common areas are especially susceptible.
It is thus important for condo managers to work with their boards and come up with a plan to help mitigate the spread of germs. However – and I cannot stress this enough – personal responsibility should play a big role in containing any potential outbreak in your condo.
Most condo managers would strongly recommend that the following precautionary measures be taken within your condo community.
Meetings (Board, AGM and Onsite): Condo managers and boards should, for the time being, use available technology for their meetings. Remote conference calls are the way to go – social distancing is imperative!
Communication: Effective and timely communication is essential. Keep your condo community updated with current information and let residents know of what measures are being taken to safeguard the condo.
Neighbours: It is also important that we look after each other, especially if you know of seniors living in your condos who might need extra help.
Cleanliness: Step up cleaning measures. Maybe include additional cleaning and disinfecting of areas, especially frequently touched surfaces. Installing sanitizer stations in amenity rooms or reminders to residents about proper hygiene.
Self-isolation: Is extremely important if in the last 14 days you travelled outside of Canada or had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19. Self-isolation means that for 14 days you need to stay home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild. Avoid contact with other people to help prevent transmission of the virus at the earliest stages of illness.
Playgrounds: If your condo community has a playground please follow the recommendations of Government and Health Authorities and issue a notice of closure to all residents. Playgrounds are infamous for carrying germs. Practise social distancing and help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus by not taking your kids to the playground.
In closing, contact your healthcare provider/Health Link 811 if you have further questions or concerns. Please go to the following links to learn more.
Remember that everyone has a role to play in beating this pandemic.