As state governments reconsider the COVID-19 restrictions imposed on March 25, Strata Community Association (SCA) National President, Andrew Chambers, released a warning to strata corporations to apply extreme caution before opening any social or recreational facilities.
“When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, Public Health Orders were put in place which affected what we can do in strata environments.
“They were applied to strata schemes to help residents adopt common-sense practices that keep everyone safe and reduce liability on owner’s corporations.”
The restrictions were imposed on gyms, pools, hot tubs, meeting or social spaces and other amenities to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
Easing restrictions does not mean easing common sense
With some restrictions lifting, this does not mean we have the all-clear to start using communal facilities as we once knew. And it certainly doesn’t mean strata corporations can return to normal operations and open gyms and pools just yet.
What’s ‘normal’ anyway? COVID-19 has redefined the term normal as well as life as we knew it pre COVID-19.
“Strata corporations may soon be able to start re-opening some closed social or recreational facilities but must do so with caution under advice from health authorities,” said Mr Chambers.
Two million Australians live in strata
That’s a considerable number of strata residents seeking to use lifts, carparks and garages, or walking through foyers, lobbies and common property. Physical distancing rules are still in force and must be adhered to.
Mr Chambers urges people to continue practising social distancing and good hygiene and limit the number of people in lifts.
“All strata owners have a duty of care to ensure their property is a safe environment that doesn’t pose a potential risk to the health and safety of neighbours and anyone who visits.”
Properties must still be maintained
Mr Chambers said this duty of care extended to contractors or employees to ensure safe workplaces for people carrying out essential maintenance.
With many people now based at home during the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in essential services at properties such as sanitising and disinfectant cleaning, garbage disposal services and plumbing.
SCA had previously advised strata owners the importance of keeping up with property maintenance during the pandemic. Any cancellation of maintenance work could have a severe impact on the future workflow and budgets of strata ecosystems.
On the flip side of the property maintenance coin is the home renovator.
“As more people have been working from home, many have decided to renovate their homes and while it is important to keep carrying out ongoing maintenance, it may not be the right time to renovate,” said Mr Chambers.
“If you are not under the pressure of a renovation timeline, you might want to rethink it during the public health crisis for a variety of reasons including the possible impact of noise to others who are also at home.
“Building contractors may be prevented from finishing the work due to staffing issues or forced closures and the building industry may be impacted by a shortage of materials and products, causing delays.”
SCA tips for strata residents
- Avoid the use of common areas or shared facilities, as these are areas highly susceptible to germs and viruses.
- When using a communal laundry room, wash your hands before and after using the facility. Ensure you use detergent and a hot water wash, and using the dryer is recommended. Remember to maintain social distancing.
- Arrange for parcel deliveries to be left at the front door of your apartment or the lobby area, where necessary. Use gloves to take receipt of packages and dispose of the packaging immediately.
- Stay up to date with information from the Australian Government and your public health authority. Restrictions around what facilities people can use are changing quickly and you don’t want to put yourself or others at risk.
Should you have any queries regarding the reopening of strata facilities, contact your Community Manager for further details.