If you’re part of a condo association, you may be wondering what you and/or your management should be doing to proactively protect your community during the coronavirus outbreak. Whether you’ve lived in your community for years or you recently moved in, chances are, you’re not sure what precautions or steps should be taken. In order to help you navigate these uncertain times, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top questions our property managers have received over the past month.
What Should Have Already Been Established By Your Condo Association
- Your trustees should already have a strong communication plan in place and should be in touch with you regularly. A clear plan should have been established and that plan should work today, as well as tomorrow. It should be scalable and repeatable, as situations, restrictions, and guidelines are changing on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
- Honest self-reporting. In an effort to keep your community healthy and safe, your management team should encourage confidential self-reporting for anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Increased cleaning and common area guidance. Your condo association should have already taken steps to increase cleaning, especially of high-touch surfaces, and there should be regular communication about common areas. We’re all in this together and if we all do our part to keep community spaces clean and clear, it will benefit the entire association.
Should I be worried about using the elevator in my building?
You should only be riding the elevator with other members in your household or by yourself. If someone is in the elevator, it’s best to let them continue on and wait for an empty cab. Keep in mind elevator buttons are high-touch surfaces so it’s best to wash your hands after touching these if you’re not wearing gloves.
What other high-touch surfaces should I be aware of?
Door handles, intercoms, countertops, chairs, tabletops, and mailboxes are all high-touch surfaces. Your condo association should be arranging for more frequent cleaning but you should also be sure to wash your hands regularly, especially after coming into contact with one of these surfaces. If possible, you should sanitize your hands before entering into common areas and wear a mask to further protect yourself.
What about the laundry room, should I be concerned about my clothes?
It is recommended that you wash your clothes in the hottest possible water, especially if you believe you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. Additionally, be mindful not to shake or toss your laundry around as you move it from your unit to a common laundry area. Laundry should be sorted before you go into the room and it should be folded once you are back in your unit.
Don’t forget about your laundry bag, this should be disinfected or you could even use a disposable bag, like a trash bag, to move your laundry around the building.
Your condo association should have set specific policies and guidelines to ensure proper social distancing protocols can be maintained in your laundry room. There may be a system in place where certain floors have access to the room on certain days, or maybe even specific units are given time slots to access the laundry room. Keep in mind, there are a lot of high-touch surfaces here so you should continue washing and sanitizing your hands frequently and wiping down any surfaces you’re using while doing your laundry.
Can the coronavirus travel through my HVAC system?
In 99.9% of buildings, there is no concern whatsoever of coronavirus being able to travel through HVAC systems. And for the remaining .1%, the chance is still very low. If you have the HVAC in your unit, it is likely the system is only connected within your unit and it is a closed-loop, only circulating air that is already in your unit. If you do live in a building that has a common air system for inside units, the air is pulled into the system through filters. Bottom line, you should not be concerned about your HVAC system during this time.
My neighbor has coronavirus, what should I do?
At times like this, it’s especially important to be kind and supportive of one another. Reach out to your neighbor and see if you can offer any assistance like bringing them groceries, walking their dog, or getting their mail. You should not be concerned about the virus passing through walls and into your unit. Your neighbor should remain in their unit until they are feeling better but even if they do venture out into a common area, you can protect yourself by washing your hands regularly and not touching your face.
Should I be concerned about ongoing building maintenance?
If your condominium is serviced by maintenance staff, you’ve likely seen them around a bit more as cleaning procedures have been increased. They’re also engaged in regular maintenance requests and ensuring that any emergency situations are rectified in a timely manner. As long as maintenance staff wears proper PPE to protect themselves and the rest of the community, and is able to follow social distancing guidelines to do their work, you have no cause for concern.
Continued building maintenance is the best way to mitigate the type of emergency or serious issues that will be far more difficult to resolve in these uncertain times.
If you’re a Charlesgate client, you’ve likely been in regular communication with your condo association manager these past few weeks and have a good understanding of the steps we’ve taken to protect you and your community. Our team is available to answer any specific questions you may have in addition to expanding upon some of the guidelines we’ve put in place at your particular property. Just reach out and let us know how we can help!
If you’re not a Charlesgate client, and you haven’t found a quick resolution to your questions or concerns, now may be a good time to evaluate how supported you are by your current condominium association management company. We’re happy to walk you through some of the pieces we have in place to ensure our clients are informed and taken care of, especially during times like this.