How property managers, landlords and other apartment operators are making decisions on how to open apartment communal spaces.
By Holly Welles
It’s now time for many businesses across different industries to reopen their doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict the future. That’s why most companies have heeded health guidelines while they remain flexible. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach — even for property managers.
Here’s a look at how property managers, landlords and other apartment operators have decided to open apartment communal spaces.
What Does the CDC Recommend?
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection continue to release information geared toward company owners. They update their coronavirus rules and recommendations frequently, providing an essential resource for many. The CDC maintains a few guides that detail how to clean and disinfect various surfaces — whether or not someone has become sick.
A property manager who wants to reopen apartment communal spaces such as gyms, lounges and pools should reference these regulations when necessary. It’s also essential to keep employees informed about personal protective equipment. All businesses need to establish maintenance practices before they open, so they can keep everyone safe from the start. It’s far better to take time to prepare than to open immediately without precautions.
Landlords must keep their residents informed. It’s clear that many people don’t want to take any risks, preferring to reintroduce themselves gradually to public spaces. The more educated people are about the process, the longer these areas can stay open.
Government Regulations on Masks
Masks are another factor that many business owners have to handle. There’s currently no national government mandate on whether the public needs to wear a mask. Instead, it’s up to state jurisdictions to decide where and when they want their residents to do so. Those who own a few properties shouldn’t have to keep up with many different rules unless they manage facilities across county lines.
Property managers should make masks mandatory for their employees. It’s a move many essential businesses in the housing industry are making to reduce virus spread and exposure on site. While it may not be possible or enforceable to mandate masks for residents, it’s also smart to post signs reminding people of safety guidelines and requirements for community spaces.
All apartment operators should keep up with their state’s mask guidelines so they can make safe choices for their employees and residents.
Reconfigurations for Public Areas
It may be necessary for property managers to make alterations to communal areas. It’s essential to keep people separated so that COVID-19 doesn’t have a chance to spread from a carrier. Places like fitness centers and leasing offices may need to undergo a reconfiguration to keep everyone protected. The same goes for outdoor areas, where residents may gather by the pool, for example.
The National Apartment Association recommends that staff workspaces should maintain a 6-foot distance as a precaution. Property managers should also place markers to keep residents within specific boundaries when necessary. If there’s a clubhouse, it’s vital to rearrange tables and chairs so that they’re not too close together. The same goes for gym equipment.
These spaces should also feature hand sanitizer and other products to keep everyone healthy. Additionally, property managers should consider how they’ll clean every area before they make any changes. Property managers and their employees should work out a dedicated cleaning schedule.
Reduced Capacity Procedures
Those who wish to reopen communal spaces must consider reduced-capacity procedures. Property managers who have already opened their public spaces have done so with extra caution regarding how many people can visit a location at once. Areas like pools and gyms should contain as few residents as possible to prevent any risks. It’s also easier to clean a space when there are fewer people present.
It’s up to property managers to figure out their state’s guidelines as to how many people can gather safely. Apartment operators need to implement these reduce- capacity regulations beforehand, so residents know what to expect. It’s also crucial for property managers to maintain these guidelines. If people can come and go to a pool or fitness center as they please, it’s highly likely that the virus will spread.
These reduced-capacity rules should be a top priority for anyone who operates an apartment complex.
Property Managers Should Take Several Precautions
As property managers reopen their apartment communal spaces, it’s essential to consider regulations on overall maintenance. Many rules are up to individual states, so these companies must consult their local area’s recommendations. Those who create a comprehensive plan can provide a safe environment for their employees and residents.