Life as we know it has essentially been turned upside down. New changes are coming every day, and people are trying to figure out how to adjust. There is an urgent push for people to stay home as much as possible, only leaving to pick up groceries or prescriptions or to go to work if required. Many businesses are shifting to a work-from-home approach as best they can to limit large gatherings and help employees stay safer. Although it is not possible for everyone to shelter in place because essential businesses remain open, limiting travel outside of work hours is encouraged.
HOAs are also adjusting day by day to the impact of coronavirus and what it means for their communities. Here are a few frequently asked questions based on current information.
Should the HOA close the gym, pool, clubhouse, etc. to members?
Ideally, yes. Not only can these areas attract more than 10 people (and current guidelines recommend avoiding groups of more than 10), they have a lot of equipment that is touched by multiple people and may not be properly disinfected between each interaction. Will some people be upset? Yes, but it is about doing what is in the best interest of the majority of people. Encourage members to do at-home workouts and use online resources while facilities are temporarily closed. Also, increase cleaning frequency in common areas.
Is it safe for members to go outside?
Generally speaking, yes. It is fine to sit outside on your patio if the weather is nice, and to let your kids play in the backyard. Going for a walk or bike ride is even permissible so long as you stay at least six feet away from others. What you want to avoid is letting neighborhood kids gather together for playdates or to climb on community playgrounds. The playset in your backyard is typically only used by your family, but community playgrounds are shared by many children and can promote the spread of germs. People tend to be in much closer proximity to one another, and children touch their faces a lot.
Should we still hold HOA board meetings?
The recommendation is to work remotely as much as possible to avoid in close contact with others. Try to get board members to all call in to a conference line or use a platform such as Skype, Zoom, WebEx, or GoToMeeting. As long as everyone joins in and is able to communicate, typically that is an acceptable solution, especially given the current circumstances. In some cases, email communication may be acceptable as well so long as all board members are in agreement on each issue discussed and put that agreement in writing for all to see. Meeting minutes should still be taken and distributed, even if the meeting occurs virtually.
Should we postpone upcoming events?
Yes. The best idea right now is to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. The neighborhood may have been looking forward to the community Easter egg hunt, but in the interest of everyone’s health and safety, it is best to cancel. Instead, look ahead to perhaps doing a back-to-school event later in the summer or in early fall.
We urge everyone to follow recommendations set forth by the CDC and by local, state, and federal governments. Remember that this too shall pass, but we need to be patient and stay safe until it does. Kuester remains committed to supporting HOAs as best we can during this time, so please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.