Multi-unit Residential Buildings: COVID-19 FAQs
Each manager and resident plays an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in their building.
Multi-unit residential buildings (i.e. apartment buildings, condominiums, etc.) often have common spaces such as elevators, laundry and hallways that are shared with multiple people. This can make it difficult to keep apart from others; however, there are measures that can be taken to ensure everyone stays safe during this pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am self-isolating in a multi-unit building with shared hallways and doors. What do I need to know?
See COVID-19 Self-isolation for information on self-isolation including for situations where people are self-isolating in multi-unit residences.
I manage a multi-unit building, what can I do to keep my residents safe?
Stay up to date on the most recent public health messaging and reinforce messages with residents and people entering the building. Encourage healthy behavior such as handwashing and physical distancing. The following are some other things you can do:
- ensure that gathering spaces and common rooms within the building are cleaned and maintained;
- make sure any amenities such as gyms, pools, saunas, steam rooms, outdoor playgrounds and recreation rooms are cleaned and maintained;
- consider virtual showings of units that are for sale or rent, or limit access and allow for enough space to physically distance during in-person showings;
- ensure that residents abide by indoor gathering guidance; and
- assist residents who are self-isolating and/or ask volunteers in the building to run errands of essential items for those who cannot get for themselves
How to clean common spaces?
It is important to ensure these areas are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected often to reduce the spread of COVID-19. General cleaning measures for these spaces can be put into place to protect residents and staff, as follows:
- Avoid dusting or sweeping. Instead, use damp cloths or paper towels and wet mopping to avoid creating aerosols.
- All trash can be disposed of in regular waste.
- Wipes may be used for surfaces that are not heavily soiled.
- If wipes or paper towel are not available, reusable rags can be used and then washed in hot water (60-90°C) with regular soap.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces at least twice daily. Examples of frequently-touched surfaces include:
- entrance phones and buttons
- elevator buttons
- hand railings
- light switches
- recycling and garbage chute handles
- laundry machines
Ensure cleaning and disinfecting products have a Drug Identification Number (DIN), which means they are approved for use in Canada. Bleach is an exception.
Do cleaning staff need to wear special personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Authorities agree that additional PPE is not required for cleaning staff. Please refer to chemical SDS sheets for information on any PPE required for each chemical. If gloves are used, wash hands before and after using gloves. If disposable gloves are not available due to shortages, a pair of reusable gloves can be designated for COVID-19 cleaning only.
My building has shared laundry, what can I do to protect myself?
Limit the number of people in the laundry room at one time to ensure physical distancing is maintained. Residents and/or managers may need to develop a schedule to prevent several people from using the facility at the same time. Here are some other steps that you can take to protect yourself and others:
- Wash your hands before and after doing laundry;
- Wipe down machine controls before and after each use;
- Wash loads with detergent and on the hot water setting;
- Avoid overloading the machine;
- Dry items on the high temperature setting;
- Disinfect laundry hampers before re-filling with clean clothes;
- Fold clean laundry at home, not in the laundry room;
- Keep dryer doors closed when not in use;
- Avoid shaking out dirty laundry;
- Do not leave soiled clothing or baskets on top of machines;
- Avoid leaving cleaning residues (e.g. bleach) in machines that could damage other people’s clothing.
Do I need to make changes to my building’s ventilation?
At this time, changes to building ventilation is not required as a precaution against COVID-19. Managers should ensure their systems are functioning as per the design requirements. If the ventilation rates have been reduced to save energy, they should be returned to normal.
Can elevators still be used safely?
Managers should assess their elevators to determine how many people may fit while still keeping a physical distance of 6 feet. The maximum number of occupants should be posted inside and outside of the elevator, and easily seen by residents. If the required physical distancing cannot be met, residents should use the elevator one person or one household at a time.
As a resident in a multi-unit residential building, are there other steps I can take to help limit the potential of spread of COVID-19 in my building?
Yes, you can follow general public health measures, including maintaining physical distancing, practicing hand hygiene and staying home when ill.
If hosting friends or family, follow guidance for personal gatherings.
You can wear a non-medical mask while moving through shared spaces such as hallways and lobbies.
If you are using shared spaces where people tend to gather such as playgrounds, indoor gym, or other, follow all measures shared by the building administration, and if the space looks busy, come back another time.
Should access to the building be restricted?
Visitation should be consistent with current measures in place. Even in times when more restrictive measures must be put into place, such as when no personal gatherings are permitted, people who are ill or self-isolating may require the assistance of family, friends or other persons to deliver groceries and essential items. Older adults, like seniors, may require ongoing personal care from family or friends. Consider the needs of those who may require assistance before putting restrictions in place.
I have a concern with my rental property, who do I talk to?
If you have financial or non-health related questions, contact the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) at 902-892-3502 or visit www.irac.pe.ca