Photo: James Bombales

As the war against the coronavirus pandemic ramps up, we’re all doing our part to ‘flatten the curve’ and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible — staying home, avoiding clusters of people and washing our hands and surfaces more frequently.

For those living in condominium communities, however, the task of social distancing in close quarters can be an even more challenging undertaking. Condo life isn’t exactly one of solitude, with shared amenities, elevators and residents living just down the hall from one another. With that, property management companies are taking new steps to combat the virus where possible.

“With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continuing to evolve, Minto Apartments is monitoring the situation closely with the safety and wellbeing of our residents and employees as our highest priority,” said George Van Noten, Chief Operating Officer of Minto Properties and Minto Apartment REIT, in a statement provided to Livabl. “We are taking necessary actions to help prevent the spread of the illness while accommodating resident needs.”

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At base level, condos are stepping up their game when it comes to cleaning. As Van Noten states, enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols have been put in place by Minto, combined with increased frequency of cleaning on routinely used surfaces in common areas, such as handrails and elevator buttons. Hand sanitizer stations are also being monitored around the clock as additional supplies of sanitizer are being sought after.

Cleaning is just the beginning though. As the coronavirus spreads, staff and residents can contract it through community transmission or international travel, and bring it into the building. Recently, York Condominium Corporation, which manages a condo tower in Scarborough, found itself disinfecting affected areas when a security guard tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from overseas. It’s in these circumstances that condo communities must decide how to manage community traffic, or the cases when someone in the building is ill and self-isolating.

“In the event that a resident contracts the virus, Management would like to clarify that the virus cannot be spread through the building’s mechanical components such as the make-up air unit which distributes filtered air throughout the corridors,” says a notice from Oben Property Management obtained by Livabl for Library District Condominiums. “If self-quarantine is required due to travel, food deliveries will be sent up to the unit doors by Concierge.”

Photo: Verne Ho / Unsplash

While Minto Apartments currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, Van Noten says that they have procedures in place if this changes and are asking residents to be transparent if they show symptoms, and self-isolate if they have been diagnosed or come in contact with someone who has the disease.

“Minto Apartments is in regular communication with residents to update them on any changes and to
remind them to self-isolate for the 14-day period if they have recently returned from abroad,” stated Van Noten.

Both Oben Property Management and Van Noten state that residents have been encouraged to practice forms of social distancing and preventative measures, which includes avoiding handshakes and other close contact, staying home unless running essential errands and avoiding gatherings. The resident services and management offices have been closed, though residents can still make inquiries by phone or email. Minto Apartments and Library District Condominiums have also temporarily closed their amenity spaces, such as the party room fitness centres, to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus.

“We are actively monitoring the situation and will continue to act in accordance with health authorities and governmental agencies,” stated Van Noten. “Doing what we can to keep our residents and employees healthy and safe remains our top priority.”

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