New South Wales has come out of lockdown and embarked on the “consolidation phase” of the federal government’s plan to live with COVID-19. While there are still some restrictions in place such as mask wearing indoors and the option of localised lockdowns, what does this mean for strata communities now that the virus is being allowed to spread and not everyone is vaccinated? Here are some ways to navigate the unique challenges for strata schemes at this point in the pandemic.
Wear a mask in the common areas
Although it’s still mandatory for strata residents to wear masks in common areas, it’s also acknowledged that masks help prevent the chance of transmission irrespective of whether you’re vaccinated or not. It’s also a good idea to have hand sanitiser at both the entrance to the property and your own bottle at the entrance to your apartment. Regular cleaning of hand rails and lift buttons is a good idea too.
Consider a roster system for the facilities
If some strata residents feel uncomfortable sharing the pool, gym, laundry or barbeque areas with other residents (regardless of whether they’re vaccinated or not), the strata committee may consider introducing a roster system to use the facilities. That way family units or bubbles can use the facilities at any one time. Wiping down the equipment in the gym after use is recommended and regular professional cleaning is important. All pools need to have a COVID-19 safety plan in place.
Improve the ventilation throughout the building
We understand that the virus is airborne can spread through buildings. It’s best to keep the air circulating in your apartment by opening windows or balcony doors – it’s even better if the windows aren’t next to a neighbouring apartment. Air-conditioners and air purifiers are also great at “cleaning” the air and keeping the air moving. You may also consider a door draught stopper for your apartment’s front door to prevent common air entering. Now’s the perfect time for strata committees to install air-conditioning in the corridors or other common areas such as lifts or at least upgrading the ventilation.
Limit the capacity in the lifts
Lifts are generally compact with sometimes poor ventilation. While capacity limits are being eased across the state, strata committees may wish to introduce limits on the amount of people allowed in the lift at any one time – residents may feel more comfortable using the lifts alone or within their own family unit.
Consider entertaining visitors outdoors
While the government has eased restrictions for vaccinated visitors allowed at your place, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go all out and start throwing parties every night. Obviously enjoy the additional freedoms, but consider pacing it for the safety of everyone in your strata scheme. If you would like to catch up with friends, consider holding the event al fresco potentially in the common area gardens; the weather is great and outdoor socialising is safer than indoor socialising.
If you have any questions about being COVID-19 safe, please contact your Strata Manager at Netstrata.