Best Practices for Entering a Unit During COVID-19
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, extra caution is advised when entering units and common elements. The Government of Ontario has published information regarding the best practices to stop the spread of COVID-19, which can be found here.
It is important to note that the Government of Ontario has recently amended several regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 which created new requirements for condominium corporations as part of the colour zone system. One of these requirements is that condominium corporations must actively screen every person who works at the condominium corporation before they enter the premises of the condominium corporation. If an individual is entering the condominium corporation to perform work on an individual condo unit, they must be screened prior to entry.
For more information on the colour zone system and your condominium corporation’s screening requirements, please click here.
If entry is required, consider the following best practices:
1. Pre-Entry Phase
Prior to entering a unit, it may be helpful for the condominium corporation to create a checklist which outlines the process to prepare for entry. An example checklist may consist of the following, but remember that your checklist may also include considerations which apply specifically to your condominium corporation:
- Consider carefully why the entry is necessary, and the number of individuals that will need to enter the unit. This information should be communicated to the unit owner and the occupant(s).
- Send the owner and the occupant(s) a detailed written explanation of why entry into a unit is necessary, and the details of all the health and safety measures that will be taken by the entrants. Communication and common understanding will be key to ensuring the safety of any unit occupant(s) and any individuals entering units.
- Ensure that all entrants are aware of pertinent health and safety practices. Remember that safety practices may differ from company to company, but all should follow municipal, provincial, and federal standards.
- Immediately before entry, ensure that all personnel entering a unit are wearing personal protective equipment.
2. Entry Phase
Ensuring safety during the entry phase is difficult due to the number of variables that can impact safety considerations. For example, some repairs might take longer and require more entrants, and some individual condo unit layouts might make social distancing difficult. As such, the best course of action is to ensure that all entrants adhere to the measures laid out in COVID-19: Stop the Spread and COVID-19 Guidance for Commercial and Residential Buildings.
Some additional best practices are:
- Ensure that only authorized personnel are entering condo units;
- Ensure that entrants abide by provincial public health recommendations, including physical distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, and wearing shoe coverings; and
- With an occupant’s permission, the condominium corporation may offer to disinfect any surfaces that the entrant has come into contact with. This should be done either during the visit or shortly thereafter.
3. Post-Entry Phase
After exiting the unit, the condominium corporation should sanitize common areas that entrants have come into contact with, such as entryways, door handles, elevator buttons or stairwell railings.
Additionally, condominium corporations may wish to consider allocating a designated area to dispose of personal protective equipment and sanitizing materials, such as gloves and wipes.
Entry Guidelines During an Emergency
In the event of an emergency, the health and safety of those living in the condominium corporation, as well as the individuals responding to the emergency, must be your main consideration.
Here are some best practices in the event of an emergency:
- Create an emergency on-call list of contractors or service providers. Ensure beforehand that they are aware of and follow COVID-19 safety procedures;
- Keep a record of the names of entrants, time of entry, and reason of entry;
- If the owner or occupant(s) was not in the condo unit while the emergency took place, communicate to the unit owner and occupant(s) what the emergency was, what was done to their unit, and the safety precautions taken; and
- After the emergency work has been completed, follow Post-Entry Phase procedures.