Unfortunately, due to the contagious nature of COVID-19, it is likely a matter of when, and not if, a resident will test positive, or be placed into isolation for being in contact with someone who has tested positive. As such, corporations need to be prepared.
According both federal and provincial government, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, returning from international travel, or been in contact with anyone who has tested positive must isolate and stay home for 14 days. This means that any resident, who falls in any of the prior categories, are not legally permitted to leave their units – they are not to wander the common elements during this isolation period. However, corporations have been facing questions from these residents such as, “I need to dispose of garbage” or “I need to pick up a package” or “What about my food delivery?” Corporations need to be prepared to implement measures that will still permit residents to obtain their food deliveries, dispose of garbage, and yet still remain in their units.
Reporting from Residents
Firstly, a corporation should request that all those residents in isolation/quarantine advise management of their situation. Such information should be kept strictly confidential and to be used only to permit corporations to implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety and health of other building residents.
Garbage & Mail
As the objective is to implement measures that allow residents to stay in their unit, corporations should arrange for garbage to be picked up outside of the resident’s unit at a set time, to be disposed of. It would also be recommended that the corporation have staff on hand to wipe down doors, door hardware, and surfaces in the garbage rooms.
With respect to obtaining mail, frankly, unless it is incredibly urgent, residents who are in isolation should refrain from checking their mail boxes for the 14 days that they are isolated. If there is an urgent package or other mail that needs to be obtained, then the resident should make special arrangements with management so that someone can deliver the package to the outside of the resident’s unit. The corporation should work with the resident so that the resident need never leave the unit during the isolation period.
Residents who have been placed into isolation are will likely need to have all groceries/food delivered to them as they cannot leave. That means the corporations can expect an increase number in food deliveries. So the food makes it to the concierge, but how does the food get to the resident’s unit?
Most condominiums are not permitting delivery personnel to deliver food in order to reduce unnecessary contact with delivery personnel, and are requiring residents to pick up their food from the main lobby. However, this cannot work for residents in isolation. The corporation should make arrangements for a security guard or other member of staff deliver the food directly outside of the resident’s unit. No face-to-face exchange should take place.
Measures can be Extended for the Elderly
The Province of Ontario has also recommended that individuals over the age of 70 stay home. If it is feasible, corporations can extend these measures to those residents who are over 70, so as to minimize the time they spend outside of their unit.
No Perfect Solution
At the end of the day, there is no perfect answer. Corporations will have to be creative in their solutions to address issues as they arise, and will have to work with residents to get through these difficult times.