The COVID-19 crisis raises concerns for property managers, board members and the more than 73 million Americans who call condominiums, co-ops, gated communities and the like with community associations home, as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted and individuals once again begin using common areas and amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, rec rooms, gyms, laundry rooms, business centers, etc. Living in such close quarters and sharing various spaces can make social distancing more difficult and present community associations and its residents with challenges that need to be addressed as everyone navigates through this unknown territory.
As states and localities ease up on restrictions in phases and individuals partake in “normal” activities, community associations should have measures in place to help prevent a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus disease and keep residents and visitors safe.
Ongoing Communication Is Key
How the association board communicates to its residents about lifting stay-at-home orders is important. The board should let residents know that it’s working on a plan (via social media, website updates, email blasts, newsletter updates) that includes whether the association can and should open common areas and what such an opening will look like. The board of directors should consult with legal counsel before any plan is implemented, and update residents daily or weekly on the status of amenities as orders are lifted.
Employing Strict Cleaning Procedures
Having cleaning procedures in place for each common area is critical during the reopening process. Recommended protocols for associations in adopting standard operating procedures include considering having a third party come in to professionally clean certain amenities and to ensure the facility is cleaned after each use.
COVID-19 Safety Guidelines Available for Community Associations
We have put together guidelines from various sources including the Community Associations Institute (CAI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HOA Resources, and others to help community associations during this time of transition. Share these guidelines with your insureds to help them in putting together a robust COVID-19 risk-mitigation program.
Sources: Forbes, CAI, HOA Resources