Last modified on May 12th, 2020
By Elizabeth Millar
For community association professionals, you’re facing tough challenges with social distancing as you have to keep residents happy while still ensuring things stay clean and adhering to local laws. Read on for ways to help manage your common areas and amenities while stay-at-home orders are in effect as well as guidelines against social gatherings.
1. Evolve Your COVID-19 Plan
We surveyed community association professionals early in the stay-at-home orders and found that nearly 90% had a COVID-19 plan in place or were working on one. It was inspiring to see how fast association management leaders moved to keep their communities safe, but as states begin to evolve orders and guidelines, your plan should follow suit.
- Keep a pulse on your state and local orders so you can align your plan.
- Develop best practices regarding the sanitation of common areas, such as setting up a thorough cleaning schedule for door handles, elevator buttons, etc.
- Use signage to designate where people should not gather on the property if that applies.
- As changes are made to the plan, communicate them to your residents to keep them in the loop.
2. Answer the Question, “When will amenities reopen?”
One of the biggest perks of living in a community association is access to things like pools, gyms, clubhouses, etc. Residents are eager to get back to normal, but it’s important to always adhere to what is safe and recommended by your state and local guidelines. If people want to reserve the community room or inquire about other common areas, assure them that they’ll be available in the future, but right now, you’re adhering to the CDC’s rules of social distancing. The CDC recommends that people stay at least six feet apart from each other and congregate in groups where people gather.
If you need to hold board meetings or other sessions that would typically require people to be in close proximity to one another, consider holding a video conference so people can watch and participate from their homes. If this is new to you, check out our recent post on how to hold effective virtual meetings.
3. Keep the Lines of Communication Wide Open
While your physical office doors may be closed, don’t let residents feel like they’re being shut out. Communicate to your residents that while your business is social distancing, you are still available and happy to answer their questions if they call, email, or send messages through their online portals. Be sure to provide your contact info in your communications to eliminate unnecessary frustrations.
Maybe you don’t know exactly when you can open the fitness facility, but that’s okay. It’s far better to communicate with residents that you’re staying apprised of changes than to leave them wondering what’s going on. As things change, be sure to send a notice to the community, informing them of upcoming openings or delays that might force common areas to be closed for extended periods of time than anticipated. People react better to uncertainty when they’re provided with ongoing updates.
If you’re looking for more ways to keep your community happy, AppFolio is here to help. Keep an eye on our blog for more tips and resources that will get you through these tough times.
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