Ontario and other provinces are beginning to cautiously reopen, using a phased approach for the safety of all citizens. There are plans for cities to close off streets to create enough space for outdoor dining patios, to help restauranteurs and to prevent the spread of Covid-19 many public transit organizations are requiring face masks. Across Canada as well as the US, cities are looking towards the guidance of their provincial and federal governments on best practices and the next steps to successfully reopen their communities.
Property and community association managers are also casting a watchful eye and beginning to evaluate which amenities can safely be reopened. People around the world are craving a return to normal, and building residents are itching to make use of prized amenities like pools and gyms.
Formalize a Plan
Most provinces and states are reopening in phases, and a similar strategy is recommended for reopening plans for multi-residential communities. Property managers are in agreement that amenities that are outdoors, and/or have the space to allow for social distancing, like tennis courts and dog runs, are easier to reopen. However, it gets to be trickier when it comes to tighter confined spaces, like small fitness rooms and saunas or hot tubs. These areas are very difficult to maintain a two-metre separation.
Consider how amenities may be used, and any restrictions or caveats. For example, the rooftop deck may open during usual hours, but without any seating or barbecues. The pool might now feature two-metre marks on the deck, and residents may be assigned specific days to use the pools. New pool rules and hours will have to be drawn up to take social distancing and disinfecting guidelines into account. Your plan should include rigorous cleaning schedules for all amenities and common areas.
Ensure your plan as well as updates to your safety policies are consistent with federal, provincial and local government advice. These might include things like requiring a limit on the number of people who can use the facility at one time or requiring users wear personal protective equipment.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Now that you have your plan, it’s crucial your tenants and condo/home owners are informed on how you will be protecting their safety during the pandemic and as you reopen. Equally as important, your team members must clearly understand each phase of your reopening schedule. Distribute your reopening plan and any updated safety policies safety practices with your teams, suppliers, and residents through a cloud-based communication portal. It makes it easy to share digital documents in a timely manner.
Also, be sure there is clear visible signage for shared amenities and common areas as a reminder for tenants to disinfect their hands, keep safe distances and any other applicable rules.
Create an Amenity Reservation Schedule
Due to social distancing, amenity capacity may need to be cut in half. As well hours may need to be reduced so that your staff can perform effective cleaning routines. But how do you ensure these restrictions while still giving tenants a fair chance to use amenities like tennis courts or other communal spaces? In addition to signage reminding people to socially distance, many property firms are using a reservation system to ensure that all tenants are welcomed to use amenities, but just not all at once.
Yes, the pandemic is adding on layers of complexity to day-to-day operations, but there are always opportunities. For example, some properties are using this time to run a giveaway series on social media to encourage social distancing. When tenants post photos on Instagram or Facebook of life in during quarantine, they are entered to win gift cards for services like Amazon, Skip the Dishes and Walmart.
By moving towards digital processes that are accessed by desktop, tablet or mobile, you can ensure your property management staff can connect with work on the go, whenever they need to and from wherever they may be. As you reopen, you can help maintenance staff work “in the field” more effectively by taking real-time photos of maintenance issues or instantly generating purchase orders for required supplies directly from the work order for maximum transparency. Talk to us about how we can help you. See pricing here.