2020 COVID-19 Community Association Operational Guidelines
More than 70 million people call community associations – homeowners associations, condominiums, strata corporations and cooperatives – home. These residents entrust volunteer board members to govern and make decisions that enhance their lives. It’s a tremendously important job under normal circumstances. In today’s new reality of a global pandemic, it’s become incredibly difficult and challenging.
The COVID-19 coronavirus (‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID-19’) pandemic has created uncertainty for community associations on everything from meeting protocols to amenity use and restricting guest policies. Management professionals and board members are tasked with striking a balance between protecting the residents from the spread of the virus while trying to conduct business, executing their fiduciary duties while also caring for the health and well-being of their residents. This is an enormous responsibility to be placed on volunteer board members in this unsettling crisis while complying with rapidly evolving guidelines and advice from the health experts, increasing government emergency orders and their reporting and communication obligations. We are grateful for the leadership and service of community association board members.
FirstService Residential has developed these operational COVID-19 guidelines (“guidelines”) for the communities we manage, adapted from information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other healthcare authorities, taking into account the current condition of this rapidly escalating coronavirus outbreak and its anticipated spread. At the time of publishing these guidelines, many counties and municipalities have issued specific emergency orders and it is important to verify and stay current with local regulations that are changing every day. Community associations must follow all directives from local, state and national authorities.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The CDC has published these steps for doing just that:
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Choose to self-isolate if you fall into a high-risk category.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Follow coughing and sneezing etiquette (cover your mouth with a tissue and then toss the tissue in the trash).
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Follow social distancing rules.