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Although the coronavirus seems to be spreading at a slower pace in Canada, it is important to remember it is still early days here. Therefore, condo managers and boards should have some policies in place to help reduce the spread. Condo residents might feel they are at higher risk due to living in closer quarters, traveling in close proximity in elevators, etc. There are further precautions you can take as the government’s recommendations continue to escalate.
Understanding Legal Implications of the Coronavirus
Condo management and boards do not have the authority to take legal steps involving public health and communicable diseases, like Coronavirus. Instead, focus on your role in managing the building and your obligation to keep people safe. In addition to basic precautions, there are several things you can do to keep up with government recommendations surrounding the virus including:
- Upgrade your cleaning in common areas using disinfectant throughout the day to wipe down elevators, buttons, door handles in all high traffic areas, mailrooms, etc.
- Post a sign to encourage people to avoid packing large groups in elevators for social distancing
- Shut down common areas such as gyms, pools, party areas
- Print out and post the Ontario government poster to share tips to reduce risk
- Post signs reminding travelers the government is requesting self-isolation for 14 days and to avoid using common areas
- Let residents know employees will be self-isolating if they are showing symptoms
- Provide a contact for residents with confirmed cases of COVD-19 so they can inform management and residents can be informed (privacy of those with the virus must be ensured)
- Cancel all social events until things have died down
Keeping residents informed of what is happening will help them feel confident you are doing what you can to keep them safe.
Being Prepared Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic
You can also consider sharing information on being prepared. The key is to help dissuade people from stockpiling. Instead, people can just add a few more items to their cart when grocery shopping such as canned goods, pasta, pet food, diapers, etc. just in case of self-isolation.
If you are aware of Airbnb units in the building, speak to your legal team to find out your rights. For example, can you inform short- term rental owners they are not allowed to take bookings until further notice? Airbnb has made changes to their cancellation policy to help assist in managing increased cancellations due to travel bands, but they do not apply to bookings accepted after March 14, 2020.
Important Information Resources for Everything COVID-19
Some important links you can send to tenants via email could include:
- Real-time updates: https://ncov2019.live/?fbclid=IwAR2yvr-rEwDTYIDJEzBVOeaO34Tog-LZEEX7lXEN7ksPIfPLvGRMpTvDDBQ
- Mackenzie Health is the dedicated center for testing: https://www.newmarkettoday.ca/local-news/mackenzie-health-selected-as-dedicated-covid-19-testing-centre-2157568?fbclid=IwAR05V6yyp2U_uIVSf_k2Teiwhj3Q_AL-jqNRQjSN9-FHGhLUUzsJlYr6q2s
- Self-monitoring information: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet-covid-19-self-monitor.pdf?la=en
- Self-assessment information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment
CPO Management Inc. has been working with condominium corporations for over 10 years and can assist in areas such as managing tenant and owner expectations during crisis situations. If you would like more information on condo management to assist in appropriate types of communication, click here.