We’ve all been swamped with an avalanche of blog posts and notices related to COVID-19 in condos. There are so many of them it’s hard to keep up. To help you with this, we’re reviewed multiple posts and are providing, below, a Top-10 list of precautions corporations ought to have taken by now.
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Top-10 Covid-19 precautions to implement in condos
- All non-essential meetings (board meetings / AGM etc.) should be postponed. In fact, as of March 28, all gatherings of more than 5 individuals are prohibited in Ontario (this does not apply to members of the same household). Boards should be encourage to hold their board meetings remotely (by teleconference, Facetime or Zoom meetings). You do not need a by-law to be able to hold your meetings remotely. All you need is for all directors to consent to holding the meeting electronically.
- All non-essential work (both in unit and on common elements) should be postponed. This may include garage sweeping, window washing etc. In-suite non-essential renovations should be postponed. Naturally, urgently required work or work required to ensure the safety and security of occupants or aimed at preventing damage to property should proceed.
- All of your non-essential amenities should be shut down by now (fitness room, pool, party room, “public” washrooms, guest suites etc.). Accommodations may be required on the basis of an existing disability (if someone needs to do physio or needs to use the gym shower because of limited mobility preventing them from using theirs). These situations should be approached with tact, reasonableness and on a case-by-case basis.
- You should increase cleaning and disinfecting protocols in common areas, using adequate products. You should have hand sanitizers in the lobby and near the elevators in the main lobby or garage lobbies. These are hard to come by and stock up on, though;
- You should take steps to protect your personnel / staff. Access to units should be strictly limited to urgent or absolutely necessary requirements. Even then, proper protective measures should be taken. You may want to provide your personnel/staff with gloves/masks etc. Reduce office hours or close non-essential onsite offices. Limit any face-to-face interactions between your staff and occupants. Implement physical protective measures (for instance, plexiglas shields or tape off an area around your staff’s work station to remind people to keep their distances). The required measures will vary greatly from site to site.
- You may want to consider adopting delivery/move-ins and open-house protocols. On the question of deliveries, there are multiple schools of thought. Some prefer to have each owner pick up their delivery at the front door (to reduce staff handling of parcels and delivery personnel traveling through common areas); Others prefer to have all deliveries brought to unit doors (to reduce occupants’ traffic in elevator and lobbies); Finally, some prefer to centralize all deliveries through the Super / Concierge and have them act as the internal delivery (but this may be difficult to implement and risks taking your staff away from other important tasks). It is up to you to figure out which approach best suits your community.
- Send out and post notices to owners, reminding them of the required physical distancing precautions, as well as self-isolation and quarantine rules. You should keep them apprised of precautions and measures taken by the corporation.
- Implement and remind occupants of the applicable quarantine and self-isolation rules.
Presently, in Ontario, gatherings of more than 5 individuals (other than related family members occupying the same unit) are prohibited.
Consider implementing an elevator protocol, limiting its use to one person at the time (or occupants from the same unit). Out of courtesy to others, owners should be encourage to wait for the next elevator if the one they called is already occupied
Those having travelled abroad, showing symptoms or having been diagnosed as being infected (and those in contact with any of these) should remain in quarantine (this is different from voluntary self-isolation, which we should all practice as much as possible). Quarantine must be complete and without exception: no outing to the stores/groceries/pharmacies; no walking of dogs; no checking of mail in the mailroom and no attending to the garbage room or chute… Those in quarantine should seek exterior assistance for these tasks.
Corporations are limited in their ability to enforce voluntary self-isolation but should consult with their legal counsel to determine the immediately required steps to enforce quarantine.
When faced with a known and verified infection, the corporation should send adequate and appropriate notices to all occupants, while preserving the
privacy of those involved. A proper notice should be sent to the occupant in quarantine to implement proper measures. You should consult with your corporation lawyer.
- Review and, if required, update your Status Certificates and Periodic Information Certificates should you anticipate being in a deficit position or if the corporation has knowledge of any circumstance that may result in an increase in the common expenses of a unit or if there are any changes to your corporation’s budget or funding of the Reserve Fund.
- Many corporations have seen volunteer groups being set up. While these are quite useful to those in need (or those in quarantine), the corporation may want to limit its involvement or may want to ensure that those participating in such programs understand the risks. Corporations may want to consider having participants sign a waiver.
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How is your condo doing?
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