Covid-19 Restrictions Eased – What it Means for Bodies Corporate

Queenslander’s have been given back some freedoms ahead of schedule, with unlimited travel within the state, more activities and an increased number of people at gatherings and dining venues now permitted.

Stage two of restrictions easing was originally scheduled for June 12.

It means pubs, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to reopen to 20 people and Queenslanders will be able to travel freely throughout the state.

Other venues such as gyms, cinemas, places of worship, libraries, museums and art galleries can also open for up to 20 people.

QLD State borders remain closed.

WHAT’S ALLOWED FROM JUNE 1:

Community
• Unlimited travel and stays within Qld, including camping
• 20 visitors to your house
• Gatherings of up to 20 people at one time in public spaces and at weddings, parks, outdoor gyms, hiking, personal training, playgrounds
• Up to 20 people at gyms, pools, libraries, places of worship, museums, art galleries, historic sites, health clubs, yoga studios and for non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport (approved COVID SAFE plan permitting)
• Gatherings of up to 50 at funerals

Business and Economy
• Up to 20 people permitted at a time at indoor cinemas, open homes, auctions, zoos, arcades, concert venues, theatres, arenas, stadium, beauty therapy, nail salons, tanning, tattoo parlours and spas (approved COVID SAFE plan permitting)
• Dining or seated drinks in restaurants, cafes, pubs, registered or licensed clubs, RSL clubs, hotels and casinos (no gaming) – up to 20 patrons per room or per defined area (indoors or outdoors) for a venue (when following a COVID SAFE Industry Plan)
• The opening of tourism accommodation and retail shopping

What it means for Bodies Corporate?

Gyms, pools, and other shared spaces were all impacted by Government and health authority orders, which saw such amenities closed to contain COVID-19 spread.

Bodies corporate are now able to start re-opening some closed facilities but must do so with extreme caution and they must adhere to advice from health authorities.

Body Corporate committees should consider how these restrictions are to be lifted within their particular complexes.

Advice from the Queensland Government is that bodies corporate are private facilities with shared areas, and the decision of how to implement the health directions, such as social distancing, is at the discretion of Bodies Corporate.

For example, your committee might recognize that to properly adhere to social distancing guidelines, a 10-person limit will remain for your complexes’ pool despite stage 2 easing of restrictions allowing up to 20. Alternatively, your committee may also choose to not open at all.

Exactly what measures your committee will take will largely depend on the unique circumstances of your building or complex.

In any body corporate’s response to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to clearly communicate the importance of social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, and frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection.

Common areas

Qld now permits ‘gatherings’ of up to 20 people at a time in common property areas for the purpose of non-contact activities including the use of swimming pools and personal training.

As social distancing must continue to be observed, consider spacing tables and chairs across pool decks/common areas with signage in place prohibiting the moving of furniture.

Consider supplying and encouraging the use of antibacterial cleaning materials and step up cleaning routines so that these areas are wiped down at intervals proportionate with the increased usage.

Gyms

Stage 2 of restrictions easing allows bodies corporate to re-open gym facilities with the number of users limited to 20. However, guidelines requiring physical distancing, equipment cleaning and a staff member to monitor activities may not be practical for some body corporates to observe, and some may choose not to re-open at this time.

Social distancing requirements will apply to prevent too many training in the same location and:
• Users should be reminded to avoid contact with others
• Users should be reminded to shower with soap at home before using gym equipment.
• Communal showers and change rooms must be kept closed, but toilets may remain open

Gyms are recognised as ‘high risk’ locations for catching coronavirus due to sweat and dampness heightening the spread of germs, the high risk of the virus remaining on hard surfaces, and the number of people using equipment in close proximity to each other.

Consider installing antibacterial alcohol-based hand wipe dispensers (as used to clean supermarket trolleys) so that users can wipe their hands AND the equipment they use, cleaning routines must be proportionate with usage levels.

To increase the chance of successful social distancing, bodies corporate may wish to introduce a booking system for users.

Pools

While pools have been allowed to re-open since May 15, the limits on the number of users has been increased to 20.

Swimming pools, indoor and outdoor, may be opened conditional upon the following rules being observed:
• users complying with social distancing requirements
• one person per lane per lap swimming
• a maximum of 20 swimmers per pool
• users reminded to avoid contact with others
• communal showers and change rooms are closed, but toilets may remain open
• no spectators, except for up to one parent/carer per child, if necessary
• users reminded to shower at home with soap before and after swimming.

Spa pools/Jacuzzis

Spa pools/Jacuzzis may be opened conditional upon:
• users complying with social distancing requirements – with the number of users strictly limited having regard to the size of the spa/jacuzzi
• users reminded to avoid contact with others
• communal showers and change rooms are closed, but toilets may remain open
• users reminded to shower with soap at home before entering the spa/jacuzzi.

Libraries/Lounges/internet facilities

Libraries, residents’ lounges,internet facilities may re-open but social distancing requirements must be observed, with furniture appropriately spaced out, and frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection.

Conclusion

As stated previously, the actions your committee will take will largely depend on the unique circumstances of your building or complex. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

If you have questions and/or concerns about your scheme re-opening shared facilities, get in touch with your body corporate manager today.

Author: Sam Aubrey

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