Condo Boards and property managers of apartment style condominiums play a significant role in protecting residents and building staff, ensuring the continuity of operations during emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak. We address some of the key measures that can be taken to help navigate these uncharted waters. This video focuses on COVID-19 however the policies and procedures should also cover other emergency situations from fire, water, lockdowns, muster point locations, to name a few, while being equipped for business continuity. These procedures should be reviewed and updated with the Board as part of its core agenda. Some simple steps can be taken based on known best practices to slow the spread and reduce exposure risks for COVID-19.
Managers need to work with Board to discuss and implement action plans. Firstly, it is important to have a central reliable source of information covering the direct and indirect risks. To ensure the most up to date information, use trusted sources for information such as government web-sites. Information should be made readily available to residents via a community web site and via the property manager’s site. Concierge or security personnel needs to be assessed in terms of unique risks suggest any staff responding to emergencies within the complex need property personal protective equipment for themselves and the residents they are assisting. For instance, they need sanitizer, gloves and protective surround at any front desk greeting points. Cleanliness keeps everyone safe…. Increasing the cleaning of touch points is one of the most basic steps to follow.
These include points in common areas that are typically handled or touched such as door handles, elevator buttons, post boxes. Cleaning staff should spend additional time ensuring these areas are sanitized with certified disinfectants, several times a day. Shared workstations such as the front desk need extra attention including phones, keyboards and accessories. Cleaning supplies and tools should be provided to the staff to use themselves. Keep essential supplies well stocked… The site required supplies to operate the common areas. Ensure you have a two-month minimum supply of consumables and re-stock monthly. Know what your services providers are doing in response to COVID-19… The property manager should issue written notifications to contractors serving the condominium to confirm they have taken steps to protect the residents and staff at the condo. In the case COVID-19, it is critical to confirm they have not recently travelled outside of Canada, been in contact with affected people or have been directed to be quarantined.
It is important to keep the communication open with residents, electronically and with signage. Hand washing signage should be posted in common washrooms and any mixed-use amenities. High traffic areas such as gyms, pools and playground should be closed and locked out. Deliveries should be time stamped and retained in a designated area for future collection. Programs should be designed keeping the nature of the condo in mind, for residents to coordinate and accept grocery and medication deliveries to minimize in and out traffic to the site. Any resident with special needs or under a quarantine directive should be encouraged to be registered with the property manger to facilitate any unique considerations if applicable.
Depending on the condominium and elevator situation, it may be prudent to post signage to request to limit number of occupants, and to consider programming it for ‘single use’ trips. For trash removal and recycling, for buildings with garbage chutes we recommend residents to use these for disposal and ensure the rules are followed. For larger garbage disposals with a central garbage location, a strategy we recommend is to create a schedule such as odd floors and even floors have different days to access all in an interest to limit contact within the condo.
At Citysearch, we provide video walk around inspection of the condominium site for the purpose of preventative maintenance. This allows Board member to virtually watch, and not have to be physically present minimizing contact while also provide convenience to store records and to watch and review, at your schedule. Ensure residents know that the Board and property manager are taking steps to minimize risk and impact to the residents and to the condominium. As we all know, home is a very special place.
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