It Takes a Village – How one community handled the Coronavirus Pandemic

July 2020

There is no way for high-rise communities to fully isolate.  Residents, building staff, vendors, delivery persons, and visitors have no choice but to cross paths in common areas which include hallways, trash rooms, elevators, lobbies and parking areas.  The physical design of a high-rise building presents unique challenges to keeping people separated, safe and healthy.

One community’s response presents a model that others can follow.

The community has more than 1,000 residents; about 600 suites in two buildings with shared amenities.

The two condo boards established a COVID Committee comprised of the condominium manager, a medical professional, and two representatives from each building.  The committee was given authority to establish community protocols and communicate them to residents.  Committee members from each building were selected based on reputation for decision-making expertise and fiduciary responsibility.

The committee met or communicated multiple times each week as they deemed necessary.  Among the measures and procedures implemented:

  • Weekly e-mail informing residents of COVID-19-related matters
  • Installation of hand sanitizer units at building entrances
  • Hiring of additional staff to clean and disinfect high-touch areas
  • Restricting access to common areas
  • Prohibiting in-suite non-emergency work
  • Request residents limit elevator use to one person or family at a time, and utilize stairs where possible
  • Require all deliveries be retrieved from the lobby
  • Maintain a list of residents willing to volunteer should the situation worsen by filling in for sick employees or assisting with maintenance
  • Periodically ordering food for employees as a show of appreciation

The following enacted measures, also implemented or planned by the COVID Committee, may be beyond authority of a condo board or committee as granted by the Condo Act:

  • Restrict building access to certain support workers and necessary vendors
  • Prepare to enact more extreme measures, such as taking the temperature of all entering the buildings, should the situation deteriorate.