On March 2, 2020, York Condominium Corporation of Ontario, Canada, advised its residents that one of its security guards, who had traveled overseas, had been diagnosed with COVID-19. For the residents of the community involved in this case and all those who reside or work in communities with associations, chatting and interacting with one’s fellow neighbors and association staff can be one of the greatest joys of condominium or community living. However, being in proximity with others is the most typical pathway to contagion when infectious diseases such as the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus are circulating. In response to the expected rise in COVID-19 cases, now is the time for associations to dust off and review their emergency plans and implement some important precautions.
To protect against catching and spreading COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. It is also recommended to avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.
Community associations should take a proactive approach toward preparing for the potential spread of COVID-19. Associations should consider installing and using hand sanitizer dispensers in high traffic areas, including the lobby, management office, meeting rooms, social rooms, dining halls, package rooms, fitness center and elevator vestibules. They should also focus on upgraded cleaning measures and protocols to help ensure that high-touch surfaces, including lobby reception desks, elevator buttons, handrails and door handles, are being cleaned and sanitized on a regular and frequent basis. Common-area restrooms should be cleaned and inspected with frequency, and special attention should be given to refilling all essentials such as soap and towel dispensers.