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  • Josee Deslongchamps

Covid-19 in Condos - May 26, 2020


Thank you to all those who continue to modify their schedules and life styles to practice physical distancing and / or self isolation.

The Province has confirmed an increase in cases over the last several days and attributes this uptick to the increased contact between family members and loved ones over the Mothers' Day weekend. It is of course, fully normal and reasonable for people to want to return to a time when it was possible to be near loved ones, most especially during times of year when we traditionally gather.


The same can be said of the recent informal gatherings which have occurred in parks throughout the Province over this past gloriously warm and sunny weekend. People’s resolve is being tested in extraordinary ways, during extraordinary times.


As the various levels of government continue to focus their energy and resources on how best to safely reopen sectors of the economy and relax physical distance measures, let’s continue to pull together and continue efforts to prevent the spread of Covid.


PROVINCIAL

The Emergency period is still currently in place until June 2, 2020

The Emergency Order is currently in place until May 29, 2020


As of Monday May 25, 2020, the Province is urging all Ontarians who are exhibiting symptoms or who suspect they have been exposed to Covid to proceed to get tested at one of many centres across the Province. Before attending a testing centre they request that you begin by taking the self-assessment test here.


Other Covid related information and resources can be found here

MUNICIPAL

The list of covid testing centres in Ottawa is here


Details concerning the City of Ottawa’s response and current restrictions concerning Covid are available here:



ANXIETY OVER RE-OPENINGS

We will, in the coming weeks, continue to be left with daily decisions about our varying levels of comfort as we return to our lives and activities. In all cases, these decisions are very personal and are dependent of course, upon many factors including personal convictions, physical and mental health, as well as varying comfort levels about attending public places for recreation and to conduct business (shop) at this time.


Words of advice…. In every instance, it helps to remember that what is right for others may not be right for you…. Cutting each other a "ton of slack", being considerate of other people’s needs and limitations and respecting each other’s boundaries are key :)


Where new or pre-existing social anxiety exists, stick to your comfort zones and take “baby steps”.  It is still ok to do only what is strictly necessary in public and retreat to the safety of your own home. But do take care of your emotional well being. There are excellent resources and ideas about how to protect your mental health at this City of Ottawa website:


Where cabin fever is driving you (and consequently your loved ones!) around the bend, it is time to start expanding the list of acceptable activities, while maintaining safe standards. But please stay safe and take care of you. Remember to respect the legal limits on public gatherings (currently still 5 people), remember to be vigilant about physical distancing and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and often while you are out in public or returning from public venues.


RE-OPENING AMENITIES

Speaking of stress.... Condominium Boards across the Province are grappling with the responsibility of balancing needs / wants and reasonable caution.


In all instances re-opining of facilities in Condominiums is limited to what is currently allowable in accordance with Provincial orders.


That said, it is important to remember that in many cases, Condominium Communities by their very nature, are closely knit social units and that as a result, re-opening amenities in this setting is much more complex than it may appear. Boards are relying heavily on condominium law industry blogs and webinars, as well as on legal advice tailored to their specific communities.


In the end, this is very much an exercise of balancing needs / rights / complaints / obligations / staff resources and budgetary limitations in unprecedented circumstances. It is going to take some to write this “playbook”…

FIRE SAFETY

You must be getting tired of my nagging about fire safety :)


Nevertheless, the leading of causes of high fires remain :

a) unattended cooking, and

b) balcony fires


In addition - and apparently because we were not already significantly at risk of fires - Covid has added a few interesting wrinkles:


Masks!

Please do not microwave textiles to dry or disinfect them. This is especially true of masks with a metal nose clip. Want a visual to reinforce the point? Voila!


Hand Sanitizing Gel!

This almost wholly alcohol based product is easily ignited at high temperatures. Ottawa is currently under a heat warning - please do not leave your hand sanitizer in your vehicle. Once again - need the visual? Voila


General Fire Safety Reminders

  • Please ensure your unit door, all amenity and stairwell doors should remain securely latched when not in use

  • Never leave pots unattended on the stove

  • Do not microwave textiles and masks

  • Do not overload electrical extension cords

  • Do not throw lit cigarette butts ever the balcony railing


In the event of fire alarms at your building, please follow the instructions from the Fire Plan which were distributed at various times over the years. If you require a copy of the instructions, please email me at desservices@rogers.com. Most importantly, if you are required to evacuate the building, please remember to ensure that you practice proper physical distancing measures (6 feet apart at all times).

BUT WHAT ABOUT MEETINGS / AGMS?

As an old-timer in the industry (sit down peanut gallery!), I can confirm that there is much apprehension amongst Managers and Board members alike about the prospect of holding virtual AGMs. I have had the opportunity to attend a simulated one a few weeks ago and found it to be very useful in quelling many of my concerns.


If you are curious about what the AGM of the future will look like - you may want to join the CondoAdviser Weekly Webinar this week (yes - the series deserves Capital Letters). This week’s edition will be a simulated virtual AGM where all of the attendes at the Webinar will all be ‘Owners‘ at a mock fully electronic AGM. Tons of fun!


Tune in on Wednesday, May 27th at 5:00 pm to find out whether the Den Mother runs for a Board position or just simply sits quietly in the audience as a “model Unit Owner” :)


The link to register for the Virtual AGM Webinar can be found here


We love reading your feedback! Thanks to everyone who continues to reach out to Martin and I. We continue to be HERE for you, we are just not THERE for you.


Take care, stay healthy and wash your hands!


J (the Den Mother)

DES Services Inc.

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