Every aspect of life has changed in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis that the world is facing. HOA board members are faced with the difficult task of keeping lines of communication open when people are being advised to keep their distance. Unfortunately, the reality is that important decisions that impact communities can't be brushed to the side so easily. Discussions need to be had regarding everything from upcoming vendor contracts to best practices for keeping members safe. What is the responsible way to handle these challenges? The team here at Crosscreek Environmental would like to share some tips with our clients.
A Guide to COVID-19 for HOA Boards
It's recommended that all annual or special membership meetings are postponed until you can be confident that it's safe to gather. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers some guidelines to consider when deciding if an event should be postponed. Here's a look:
The CDC is also advising the public to cancel gatherings of more than 10 people for organizations that serve higher-risk populations. This includes the elderly. It's understandable that it may still be necessary to conduct board and committee meetings. In fact, these meetings may be necessary for discussing actions for keeping community members safe and assured during the COVID-19 crisis. An in-person meeting may not be an option that members feel comfortable with at the moment. Fortunately, there are many tools available for virtual meetings. Here's a list of great resources to consider for booking and conducting meetings when trying to design your HOA's contingency plan:
It's important to look at the decision to postpone in-person meetings as an opportunity to keep everyone healthy. Using tools to keep in touch can help to keep board members in contact without putting anyone at risk. It's also probably going to be necessary to postpone all upcoming festivals, cookouts, outdoor sales and gatherings that were planned for the spring.
Some Best Practices for Keeping Common Spaces Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Residents will understandably have concerns regarding what is being done to address the spread of the coronavirus in common spaces. Fortunately, your HOA probably already has rules and practices in place that ensure a tidy, clean environment for all. It might still be a good idea to review practices and policies to keep up with what is known about how the virus is spread. Take a look at some best practices to implement.
Modified Cleaning Practices
This is a perfect time to implement some enhanced cleaning practices. All cleaning contractors and employees can be instructed to carry out routine cleaning of all surfaces and equipment featured in common areas. This can include everything from door handles to elevator buttons. In addition, it will be important to keep an open line of communication that makes it possible to address specific concerns of members.
Modified Access to Facilities
It may be necessary to simply close certain areas on a temporary basis. This includes facilities like gyms and pools. Unfortunately, it appears that the virus is able to survive on surfaces for an extended period of time. This means that shared exercise equipment could create risks. Additionally, allowing members to gather at a gym or pool doesn't follow the rules for social distancing that are being recommended by the CDC.
Make Hand Sanitizer Readily Available
Making hand sanitizer and wipes available in all common areas can be an effective way to reduce the spread of germs. You might even want to consider installing dispensers. Make sure residents know to use these resources sparingly to ensure that there's enough for all.
Communication Is Everything
Here at Crosscreek Environmental, we recognize that communication is everything during these difficult times. Giving everyone a way to communicate that doesn't violate the rules of social distancing can help everyone to feel connected. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions regarding maintenance of any ponds, lakes or wetlands on your property.