As confirmed cases of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, continue to increase in the United States, HOA board members are now looking for ways to protect their communities. Although the pandemic has brought on a lot of fear and uncertainty, it’s crucial not to panic. Having a clear, well-thought-out strategy can help ease the anxiety of your community members. When it comes to the coronavirus and HOAs, here are steps that board members can take to prevent the spread of the virus in their communities.
Coronavirus and HOAs: What Are the Board Members’ Responsibilities During a Pandemic?
When it comes to COVID-19 and HOAs, one of the most common questions being asked is, “What are HOA board member responsibilities during coronavirus pandemic?” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every individual is responsible for protecting his/her health during this pandemic. However, the HOA board can still implement measures that can further blunt the impact of COVID-19.
Here are steps we recommend for HOA board members:
1. Close Common Areas
As a preventive measure, HOA board members should temporarily close common areas such as clubhouses, playgrounds, gyms, and swimming pools. Communal spaces are high-traffic areas so a lot of community members use your facilities on a daily basis. As such, these places also have a high risk of coronavirus transmission.
We know that the coronavirus can be transmitted by touching surfaces with the virus, then subsequently touching one’s face. So to limit residents’ exposure to the virus, HOA board members should restrict access to common areas for the time being.
2. Cancel Community Events
HOA board members should also cancel upcoming community events, such as board meetings, seminars, parties, and other festivities. In order to flatten the epidemic curve in the United States, all community members must practice social distancing. This means avoiding public spaces and large social gatherings. It’s better to reschedule these events at a later date than to risk the well-being of your community.
3. Ramp Up Cleaning Measures
HOA board members should also have strict cleaning protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their community. Wipe down surfaces in common areas extensively and regularly. Make sure to focus on high-touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, doorknobs, and light switches. Carpeted floors and drapes should also be cleaned.
Use soap and water to clean surfaces. Meanwhile, to disinfect, you can use diluted household bleach solutions, 70% alcohol solutions, or commercial disinfectants. Also, make sure to wear protective gloves while cleaning and disinfecting communal surfaces.
4. Install Hand Sanitizing Stations
Promote safety and cleanliness in your community by installing hand sanitizing stations. You can place them in communal spaces and high-traffic areas such as parks, parking lots, and laundry rooms. If you have communal bathrooms, make sure that soap is always available for community members to use.
5. Conduct HOA Business Online
Even though there is a directive to minimize social contact, HOA board members still have to take care of important community matters. As an alternative to face-to-face board meetings, the members can conduct their business online. There are so many online tools available today for teleconferences and video conferences.
If you work with an HOA management company, ask them about remote tools, community portals, and other resources that can help. If important decisions have to be made, just make sure that all board members are present and that you have a majority vote.
6. Communicate with Homeowners
This is a scary time for everyone. To help quell the fear and anxiety of your community members, it’s good to maintain communications with them. Send regular updates — either through a newsletter, email, or text — about all the safety measures that the board is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your community. Inform them if you have closed your facilities or are operating on a limited schedule.
HOA board members should also provide information on what residents can do to clean and disinfect their homes, as well as credible resources they can read to understand the effect of COVID-19. Moreover, make it clear to the community members that you are open to questions and other concerns they may have.
7. Provide Assistance to Residents in Need
While we are all susceptible to the effects of COVID-19, adults over the age of 60 and people with underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of developing serious complications. As such, HOA board members should reach out to these individuals and assist them as much as possible.
For example, have a volunteer do their grocery shopping to limit their exposure to the coronavirus. Make sure they know signs and symptoms to look out for, and who to call in case they are feeling unwell.
8. Stay Vigilant
There’s a lot about the novel coronavirus that scientists and medical professionals have yet to discover. That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant in times like this. HOA board members should be updated with the latest developments. If there are new directives from state or local officials, board members should know about them and make the necessary changes. You can also share credible information with your entire community.
Coronavirus and HOAs: Important Reminders for Your Community Members
Though the HOA board and coronavirus measures they implement are very helpful, we shouldn’t forget the responsibility that each person has to prevent the spread of COVID-19. HOA board members should constantly remind community members of ways they can protect themselves from the devastating effects of this pandemic.
Here are important guidelines to follow:
- Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible, especially if you have been outside. Make sure to wash for 20 seconds or longer.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
- Limit your contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid public places, especially those where there have been confirmed COVID-19 cases.
- Do not go out if you are sick or not feeling well.
- Cover your cough and sneezes. Use a tissue, but if there is none, use the inside of your elbow.
- Use a face mask if you are caring for a sick person or if you are sick.
Coronavirus and HOAs: A Time for Communities to Come Together
The level of involvement from HOA board members and the COVID-19 measures they implement can have a significant impact on the community. By closing down shared spaces and ramping up cleaning measures, HOA board members can reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission in their community. At the same time, community members should cooperate and head the HOA boards’ directives. Given all the havoc caused by the coronavirus, this is truly a time for communities to come together. If you want further assistance when it comes to coronavirus and HOAs, please do not hesitate to give us a call.