From December 15 or if New South Wales reaches 95% fully vaccinated prior to then, restrictions put in place by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be eased further. What does this mean for strata communities and what practices were implemented during lockdown that are worth continuing?
The public health order currently requires all adults to wear a mask in all indoor settings including when walking through the common property. From December 15, masks will no longer be mandatory on strata common property. They will however still be required on public transport, planes and at airports – so it’s best to keep one in your pocket or bag. While it may not be the law any more, if there’s limited space inside a lift for example or if you have any symptoms, you may like to consider wearing a mask because we do know that masks lower the chance of infection.
Strata schemes no longer need to limit the amount of people allowed to use for example communal gyms or swimming pools at any one time depending on the size of the space. Wiping down the equipment in the gym after use should remain as standard practice and regular professional cleaning is important. Gym goers should use a towel also. Pools no longer need to have a COVID-19 safety plan in place but strata schemes may opt to continue having a safety plan if they prefer.
While there’s no limit to the amount of people allowed in your apartment, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should throw raucous parties every night. You still need to consider others that live in your building; your neighbours still have the right to enjoy their place peacefully. We’re heading into the summer months; if you would like to catch up with friends, consider holding the event al fresco potentially in the common area gardens. When it comes to COVID-19, socialising outdoors is safer than indoor socialising.
While there aren’t any laws that require implementing hygiene practices, strata committees may consider installing permanent bottles of hand sanitiser at the entrance to the property. It’s also a good idea to have your own bottle at the entrance to your apartment. Continuing with regular cleaning of hand rails and lift buttons and any other high traffic common areas is a good idea too. If pre-COVID, your common areas were cleaned every two weeks, now it’s worth investing in cleaners every week.
If you haven’t already investigated improving the ventilation throughout the building, now is a good time to consider it, as the COVID-19 virus is airborne and can spread through buildings. Owners can keep the air circulating in their apartment by opening windows or balcony doors. As air-conditioners and air purifiers can clean the air, strata committees may like to install air-conditioning in the corridors or other common areas such as lifts or at least upgrading the ventilation.
If you have any questions about being COVID-19 safe, please contact your Strata Manager at Netstrata.
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