How Condo Owners Can Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Common Areas

Protect Yourself (And Your Neighbours) With These Hygiene Tips

Condo owners live within close proximity of their neighbours. They share elevators and other common areas like on-site fitness centres, party rooms, and swimming pools with their fellow residents.

This reality has caused some concern in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak became more widespread and better understood.

Condo owners, and people in general, want to know how to stop coronavirus from spreading and protect themselves, their families, neighbours and greater communities.

Thankfully, there are COVID-19 prevention measures that can keep condo owners (and others who routinely share common spaces with others) safe and healthy.

It is important for condominium residents to remember that in order to keep their property safe and risk-free, everyone must do their part to uphold strict sanitary practices.

By following these guidelines, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of coronavirus in your residential complex.

Keep Common Areas Safe With These COVID-19 Prevention Measures

1.    Limit Elevator Use (And Number of Passengers)

This is a highly-effective way of limiting the spread of COVID-19 in condo buildings. Since most elevators are not spacious enough to allow passengers to adhere to the 6-feet social distancing recommendation, it is important for residents to avoid taking the elevator if there are other residents inside.

By waiting to use the elevator when it is empty, condo owners can protect themselves and others from spreading COVID-19 via coughing, sneezing, etc.

It is also a good idea for healthy, young, and non-immunocompromised residents to use stairs (when possible). This will ensure elevators remain vacant and available for neighbours who use wheelchairs, are senior citizens, or who have underlying health conditions that make climbing stairs difficult.

2.    Avoid Directly Touching Surfaces (As Much As Possible)

This includes handrails, mailboxes, elevator buttons, doorknobs, and any other hard surface that another resident may come in contact with.

Condo owners can avoid directly touching these areas by:

  • Wearing winter mittens, disposable latex or vinyl gloves, etc.
  • Using their elbow to press elevator buttons, push doors, etc.
  • Using a tissue to cover doorknobs or handrails if you must touch them
  • Pressing elevator buttons or pin pads with a pen instead of fingers

Remember, studies have shown that COVID-19 is capable of surviving on various surfaces for extended periods of time.

The timeframes include:

  • ~ 4 hours on copper
  • ~ 24 hours on cardboard
  • ~ 2-3 days on plastic and steel

The more diligently residents avoid touching these surfaces, the easier it will be to stop coronavirus from spreading in condominium buildings.

Please note that new research is coming to light about the lifespan of this virus on a continuous basis. Please consult your local medical professionals for the latest data.

3.    Practice Respiratory Etiquette

Of all the coronavirus tips for condo owners, this one is arguably the most important.

Scientists have concluded that COVID-19 can be spread from one person to another via barely-visible droplets that are expelled from the mouth during coughing or sneezing, as well as other forms of close contact (shaking hands, hugging, or touching a surface and then touching the face without disinfecting first).

Respiratory etiquette includes:

  • Wearing a surgical mask, scarf, or homemade face covering to prevent the spray of respiratory droplets when sneezing or coughing
  • Coughing or sneezing into the bend of your arm (as opposed to your hands) when not wearing a face covering
  • Carrying tissues and using them to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

Condo owners must remain cognizant of the fact that individuals infected with coronavirus typically do not show symptoms for 5 days or more, yet they are contagious and capable of spreading the virus to others during this time. Thus, practicing respiratory etiquette is necessary at all times.

4.    Notify Your Condo Board Of Any Unsanitary Conditions

Condo boards have a legal duty to ensure common areas within a complex are maintained, clean and sanitary.

The majority of condo boards and condo management companies hire a residential cleaning company on a contract basis.

If you feel that the common areas of your complex are not being cleaned to a satisfactory standard, it is imperative that you let your condo board or condo management company know immediately.

You may also want to ask your condo officials if they have (or plan to) adjust their cleaning practices in response to COVID-19.

Many condo associations are implementing additional COVID-19 prevention measures as part of their cleaning regime, including:

  • Using more powerful antiviral disinfectant solutions
  • Using disposable cleaning supplies like gloves, cleaning cloths, and dusters
  • Soaking all non-disposable cloths or materials in disinfecting solution after each use

If you have any questions regarding how your condominium association is addressing sanitary concerns during COVID-19, it is best to reach out to your representatives directly.

5.    Report Any Conduct That Could Be Putting Residents at Risk

One of the most impactful ways condo owners can maintain a safe environment for all residents is to be proactive in self-governance. This means if a resident sees someone engaging in a high-risk activity or posing a risk to others, they should report directly to their condo association.

This activities or behaviors include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Not maintaining recommended social distancing best practices
  • Not quarantining after returning from travel or receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis
  • Allowing visitors into their unit
  • Using restricted common amenities such as swimming pools and gyms
  • Hosting gatherings in common areas (party rooms, rooftop spaces, etc)
  • Not adhering to the mandatory 10-day isolation period if the person has a cough, sore throat, other symptoms

In addition to notifying condo managers or representatives, it is also advised that condo residents submit a violation complaint via the Government of Alberta website.

Do you reside in one of the properties we service?

The safety and well-being of our residents is our greatest priority.

If you’re looking for help to reduce COVID-19 in your building or manage your condo community safely, be sure to give us a call at Catalyst Condo Management today – we are here to help.