Coronavirus in Condos March 26, 2020
Thank you to all those of you who continue to practice physical-distancing and to all those returning to Canada who are self-isolating.
SELF-ISOLATION FOR TRAVELLERS RETURNING TO CANADA
On March 25th the Federal Government invoked sections of the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the previously issued self-isolation guidelines after travel. All Canadians are now REQUIRED to complete a Declaration upon returning to the country and are REQUIRED to self-isolate upon return.
Thank you to the myriad of Owners and Residents who are helping, on a volunteer basis, to support all those in self-isolation. You are helping our communities stay safe.
Example of the concrete ways in which neighbours in condominium communities are coming together [or coming apart? :) ] to help one another include:
assisting with shopping for and delivering groceries and medical supplies to Owner in self-isolation,
assisting with garbage disposal for those who cannot leave their unit to use a garbage chute,
assisting with deliveries to the building where a self-isolating self-isolating Owners cannot leave the unit to retrieve deliveries from the lobby,
“Virtual” wellness checks by phone, video chat or email
All volunteers are reminded to exercise great care, both for their own protection and to limit the potential of virus spread throughout the building and in the community at large.
Thank you for your service and for being mindful of social distancing at all times while in public settings, including the building’s common element areas and for washing your hands!
The onset of more frequent deliveries to the building (groceries, parcels, prepared food delivery) is generating increased traffic in our building and in the elevators.
Owners and Residents are requested to exercise care in elevators - where social distancing measures are often impossible, given the confined nature of elevator cabs.
Owners / Residents who live together in the same suite may safely ride the elevator together, however wherever possible, other "unrelated" Owners and Residents are encouraged to wait for an empty cab prior to boarding in order to allow for proper self distancing measures.
STAIRWELL, VESTIBULE, LOBBY AND UNIT DOORS
It is very important to remember that despite Covid-19 concerns, all pre-existing Code requirements, and most especially Fire Code requirements are still in force and still require that all fire separating doors (including stairwell, facilities, vestibule and unit doors) remain closed and latched at all times while not in use.
In the case of stairwell doors - this is critically important in the event of a fire. Not only does the stairwell door protect your emergency path of egress, it also ensures for proper ventilation of the stairwell in event of smoke contamination. Please do not prop stairwell doors open (ever!)
In the case of unit doors, in addition to acting as a fire separator for your unit, the door also helps ensure that proper building air pressures are maintained.
In a typical high rise design, the make up unit (MUA) in your building pulls fresh outside air into the building, which is then redistributed through ductwork in the common element hallways. Leaving your unit door open for long periods of time interferes with proper pressurization of the building and makes it difficult for balanced air to flow through the building. This significantly impedes the system's ability to refresh and replace indoor air at proper Code mandated rates.
NO KNOWN CASES IN YOUR COMMUNITY AT THE MOMENT
We are happy to report that there are no known confirmed cases of Covid-19 illness in your building.
We assure you that if / when this changes, Notices WILL be posted advising all Owners and Residents to use enhanced precautions (it is however our recommendation that everyone behave in consideration of the fact that anyone you meet may already be infected but asymptomatic).
Please note however that in the event of confirmation of Covid-19 illness in your building, due to Privacy of Information legislation requirements, the identity of the infected person and their whereabouts will not be divulged.
MANAGEMENT / ADMINISTRATIVE
We are making arrangements to obtain EFT information from your building’s suppliers / vendors and professional partners to allow electronic payments to be made on an interim basis during the pandemic period. With the exception of public utilities companies, payments to your community's business partners have always been made by cheque.
We are also in the process of adjusting internal controls and protocols to include processing EFTs to ensure that proper vetting of payments by your Board is still respected prior to release of payments.
VIDEO CONFERENCING / WEBINARS / INDUSTRY BLOGS
The Board in each of our communities has transitioned to video web conferencing. With the exception of a few small technical details to iron out - we anticipate being able to continue monthly board meetings in the months to come - via video and conference calls.
A very special note of thanks to all those Ontario Condominium Law industry experts who are working diligently to disseminate timely and reliable information through their blogs with respect to condominium and employment specific issues affecting condominium. These valuable legal partners are freely giving their time and expertise to support the condominium management industry and to guide Board members across the province in these un-precedented times.
We would be remiss not to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts by Rodrigue Escayola and his team at Gowlings, authors of the Condo Adviser Blog, who have been hosting weekly condo-industry wide Webinars as well as Ottawa-specific webinars for condo managers. You can register for the next weekly webinar here.
A SPECIAL SHOUT OUT - TO FAMILIES!!
Wow - today’s generation of parents is being faced with remarkable challenges - ones that are difficult to imagine for those of us who are not “in the trenches”, so to speak…
Thoughts from the Den Mother:
I can’t image the complexities of trying to keep a child occupied all day during a pandemic, while you are working from home, without the ability to let them play in the park, all the while keeping them from touching things (or worse … putting things in their mouths!).
The closest thing I have experienced was during the ice storm of January 1998. My kids were aged 5 and 3.
When the ice storm hit, I was a home owner in a small village east of Ottawa (coincidentally the LAST village to have power reconnected after 22 long days). We were on well water and septic... (no power = no water when you are on a well). I had a good chuckle 21 days into the power outage when the army boys came marching up our street to assist us :)) They meant well - but we had all pretty much sorted ourselves out by then, through community networking...
True story - My daughter at the time was still enthralled with a new Christmas gift - a battery powered game called “Penguin Shuffle”. I am certain if you look it up online, you will find a picture (and maybe a recording) of that infernal toy. “Ta-da ta-da.... ta-da ta-da.... ta-da ta-da... TADA”. That little jingle still haunts me to this day and it never fails to make me cringe when I think of it.
All this to say - hang in there. You’re doing a great job and YES, this WILL pass but you WILL remember THIS forever!
Stay safe & wash your hands!
J (the Den Mother)
DES Services Inc.
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