COVID-19 IS A SERIOUS RESPIRATORY ILLNESS THAT CAN SPREAD FROM PERSON TO PERSON. It is unfortunate that months into this crisis, people still have to be reminded about how serious an illness COVID-19 is. The current resurgent outbreaks in multiple states should be a reminder to all that we are nowhere close to the end of this health crisis.
The following guidance from the CDC should be implemented by all multifamily housing properties – regardless of where the property is located.
- Create and implement a strategy for distributing goods and services – delivery of parcels, goods, and services should be conducted using secure drop-off locations, personal protective equipment (PPE), and trained staff or volunteers. Keep a record of all deliveries for future reference and to assist in possible contact tracing.
- Provide or require PPE – Latex gloves and masks should be required and provided to all staff, residents, and partners delivering food, goods, and other resources.
- Limit contact – Reduce potential exposure by using contactless, no knock, no signature delivery protocols. Maintain a six-foot distance when face-to-fact contact is necessary.
- Clean & Disinfect – Wash hands before and after handling packages. Do so thoroughly for 20 seconds. Disinfect delivered items when possible along with the counter and ground after opening.
VISITING & SAFE DISTANCING
- Post safe distancing requirements – Inform all staff, residents, and visitors of CDC and state-specific safe distancing requirements, e.g., 6-feet or more. Update as needed.
- Be aware of high risk persons – Inform staff and residents of the serious health risks of COVID-19 and signs of possible infection. Protect the elderly and those with chronic health conditions.
- Restrict hours – Limit entrance to facilities when possible. Employ teleworking and communicate remotely.
- Limit contact – Physically limit large group gatherings by:
- Removing furniture or blocking common areas;
- Closing common spaces, e.g., meeting and computer rooms, kitchens, or playgrounds; and
- Informing large groups about the health risks when social distancing is not being practiced.
- Limit visitors – CDC recommends limiting visitors in high rises and senior housing to emergency and other medical or personal care providers and in accordance with local requirements. Establish a list of other essential services, e.g., childcare, food delivery, medication, other urgent goods and record all visitors in compliance with CDC recommended practices. Obtain contact information for all persons who enter the building. For other facilities, if possible, limit visitors to one at a time and practice safe distancing at all times.
- Use PPE – Encourage the use of masks and gloves and take additional protective steps if there is an active case of COVID-19.
- Clean & Disinfect – Perform thorough cleanings of public spaces regularly. Provide supplies to residents when possible.
- Establish new safe distancing procedures –
- Use a drop box or electronic payment for rental payments;
- Stagger office staff in-office and/or teleworking;
- Limit maintenance to emergency repairs;
- Establish a response team trained in safe practices; and
- Distribute goods while maintaining a six-foot distance.
Despite the “re-opening” of the economy, COVID-19 is still here. Maintaining diligent and aggressive procedures in multifamily properties will reduce the risk of contracting the disease and demonstrate to your residents that you care about their well-being.