Coronavirus Prevention Summary for Condominium and Community Associations
As the Coronavirus (also known as “COVID-19”) continues to spread globally, including 152 known cases, 11 casualties and increased reports of infections across 16 U.S. states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has warned that this virus is likely to cause a pandemic. Condominium associations, common interest communities and property managers alike are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact that this virus may have on their communities. This Alert summarizes the presently known prevention methods that associations, property managers and residents can utilize to lessen potential exposure to this virus.
General Prevention Measures for Associations and Property Managers
- Condominium associations, common interest communities and their property managers should ensure they are taking the proper and appropriate precautions by maintaining cleanliness and discouraging the spread of misinformation. The CDC recommends no additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning at this time; however, associations and property managers should implement the following CDC recommendations:
- Encourage employees and residents to wipe down commonly touched surfaces including elevator buttons, common door handles, exercise equipment, and appliances, electronics and other commonly-held items in community entertainment rooms and workspaces.
- Require janitorial staff and others who clean common areas to wear gloves and wash hands immediately after removing gloves.
- Ensure that all soap, tissue, hand sanitizers and other hygiene supplies are well stocked.
- Supply additional tissues, disposable wipes, hand sanitizer and no-touch trash cans throughout the community.
- Raise awareness about COVID-19 without increasing fear and share accurate information about how the virus spreads.
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality of any individual seeking health care, who may be part of any contact investigation, and those confirmed with COVID-19, just as you would with someone who has contracted any other virus or illness.
- Share the following CDC recommendations with unit owners, residents, and employees:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick and refrain from using community gyms and other amenity spaces.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
- CDC does not recommend healthy people to wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Individuals who are sick and who have symptoms that may be indicative of the virus should immediately call their health care provider for assistance, and may consult the CDC’s recommendations here.
In the event of a major outbreak, the CDC recommends having a response plan in place which may include limiting access to nonresidents and the general public, postponing or cancelling non-essential meetings or conducting them over the phone or video conferences, requiring sick employees to stay home from work, and prohibiting the rental of community areas.
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr will continue to monitor these matters and keep you informed. Please contact us with any questions about the content of this Alert or other condominium or community association concerns.