With the recent outbreaks of Covid-19 in Victoria and NSW it is vital that apartment communities stay vigilant in adhering to official health advice and social distancing.
The peak strata industry body, Strata Community Association, claims high density living in apartment blocks poses an enormous threat of a second wave of Covid-19.
And it warns that signs were emerging that apartment, unit and townhouse residents were becoming complacent about the Covid-19 risks.
The danger, it says, stems from strata communities struggling with social distancing rules, living in close proximity and sharing facilities as basic as lifts and doors.
The risks are exacerbated now that restrictions are being lifted.
Preventing the spread of Covid-19 in a strata complex
To prevent Covid-19 spread in residential buildings:
- keep at least 1.5 metres away from others
- allow only essential personnel in the building
- residents should keep to their own lot
- people servicing the building should wear gloves and masks, and be trained in their proper use
- symptomatic residents should wear a mask (and be aware of how to handle these correctly so as not to increase the risk of infection)
- avoid communal spaces such as shared laundries and limit numbers in lifts and stairwells at any given time
- if the structure allows it, utilise separate entry and exit points and one-way pathways through the building
- practice good respiratory etiquette (such as coughing into your elbow). This can reduce the number of people each infected person passes the virus to.
To reduce spread via contaminated objects:
- everyone who lives in or is visiting the building should frequently wash or sanitise their hands. Sanitiser should be available at entry and exit points and shared areas
- avoid touching your face and your food unless your hands have been freshly cleaned
- regular cleaning of shared spaces is important, including lift buttons, handrails, and door handles
- rubbish bins should be kept in separate areas to other supplies to avoid cross-contamination.
Body Corporate Social Distancing Requirements
The following social distancing guidelines still apply to residential apartment buildings:
- Social distancing
The requirement to maintain social distancing (1.5m apart) remains.
- Public gatherings
Public gatherings have been expanded to a maximum of 100 people on the condition physical distancing is practiced – that is, keeping 1.5 metres apart where possible.
Theatres and auditoriums are allowed to operate with up to 50 per cent capacity, or one person per 4 square metres (whichever is greater). For those facilities of less than 200 square metres, the 1 person per 2 square metre rule and up to 50 people at a time, applies.
Supervision is no longer required and there can now be up to one person per 2 square metres up to a maximum of 50 people (assuming the gym area is less than 200 square metres).
- Saunas are able to operate – but social distancing applies.
Swimming pools and spas
- Swimming pools and spas in apartment complexes are able to operate – but social distancing applies.
Short-term rental accommodation that features shared bathroom or shared kitchen facilities must have a health management plan and operate in compliance with that plan.
Providers of short-term accommodation facilities without shared bathrooms or kitchens must ensure that the occupant density is:
- no more than one person per 2 square metres (up to a total of 50 people) for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or less; or
- no more than one person per 4 square metres for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or more; and
- Keep contact information about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days and deleted after 56 days.
As the recent outbreaks have shown, we are a long way off being out of the woods in regard to Covid-19.
We urge all residents to heed Public Health Order recommendations and to adhere to social distancing requirements as seriously as possible.
While Stratacare will endeavour to provide the most-up-to-date information and advice that is available, please note that your best source of information on Covid-19 is always the Government and relevant Health Authorities.