View Article

 

April 16, 2020 - By Elia Associates

COVID-19 Bulletin No. 17: Banning Visitors

Updated on April 16, 2020

Many condominiums Boards are contemplating whether or not visitors should be banned, especially those with dense populations and highly vulnerable residents. While we direct you to speak to your own professional counsel so that you, as a director, are protected by professional advice, we offer the following perspective:

What is the purpose of social distancing? What is the purpose of isolation? What is the purpose of ordering a complete lockdown of the country and limiting production or limiting the world to essential services? What is the purpose of the order prohibiting people from attending a gathering of more than five people even if it is in a private dwelling place as made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and extended by order?

The true intention is to stop the spread of the COVID 19 virus through human transmission of bodily fluids and/or contact with surfaces infected by other humans. Visitors represent human contact. 

Therefore, while various people may have positions as to whether or not visitors can be banned, it is important to reflect on the fact that visitors, no matter their purpose, are potentially a source of the virus in the condominium community.  The more people that visit a condominium corporation, the greater the COVID-19 risk.  Therefore, eliminating or reducing the number of visitors is consistent with applicable law and medical evidence supporting how to crush the curve.

Section 117 provides that the Corporation needs to prohibit any circumstance that could cause damage to persons or property from existing on the property.  In April 2020, this could include a non-essential visitors and/or visitors who may be infected.  Therefore, a Board may wish to be consider such a ban depending on an analysis of circumstances impacting the condominium Corporation, including demographics.

So should every single visitor be banned?  We would say that same is not truly practical.  Rather, it is important for Boards to be reasonable and identify parameters for visits that adhere to the law and ensure that precautions are take before individuals enter the community.

Alternatively, condominium corporation may wish to develop a Visitor Protocol.  This protocol would sort the data.  For example, all visitors should identify themselves as essential or non-essential visitors, identify their purpose on site and complete a COVID 19 questionnaire.  The Condominium Corporation, therefore, needs to identify and define who are “essential visitors” and who are “non-essential”.  This would mean creating a categories of service provider such as caregiving or other safety, sanitary or security reasons, delivery services etcetera. The Board should also define parameters around non-essential visitors, who may be permitted.  For example, at a minimum, there should be clear parameters on the number of visitors permitted at any one time within a given time frame and for limited purposes.  This of course, takes time away from the manager and there may be additional fees associated with repetitive visitor monitoring.  Thus, shortening the list and discouraging visitors helps everyone. 

Accordingly, I think boards could invoke a ban or a visitor protocol that could be based on a logical, critically, thought-through framework that permits certain types of visitors and discourages and even prohibits others.

Here are some questions to ponder:

1)            What does our community value?

2)            Do we really want to track our neighbours’ visitors? When does it cost too much? Do we even have the right?

3)            What is really essential?  What values underlie this if everyone in Ontario is mandated to stay home.  Hint:  Look at the order regarding gatherings.

4)            Are cleaning services for elderly residents essential?  How about for a (lazy) younger, fit, person?

5)            Is a “quick” coffee dangerous?  What if it is with someone who is asymptomatic?

6)            How do we enforce social distancing in suite?  Are we responsible to do this?

7)            Even if a visitor is “essential”, does it mean that such visitors can come in whenever they want? Hint: Absolutely not!

The reality is that every condominium today, no matter what type condominium you are part of, every board must assess human interaction opportunities in their condo, abide by the law, limit the probably of transmission and the opportunity for transmission of the virus, and must have a COVID-19 protocol.

You must have a COVID-19 protocol for trades people that are essential, for visitors that are essential, for delivery people that are essential. Why? Condominium corporations face liability in failing to take reasonable steps to protect people and manage the assets of the Corporation, including those people who treat this place as a workplace and are continuing to come to the front line every day.

In today’s new normal, is it acceptable to have 100 visitors in your lobby or in your community? The goal is collectively reducing the quantum of people flowing through the condominium corporation is the absolute necessary step to take at this time.

Normalizing the new normal is the challenge we all face.  To do so effectively, we all must be proactive.

“When I go to someone's home and they tell me to make myself at home...The first thing I do is kick them out because I don't like visitors.” - Anonymous

Richard Elia

1-866-446-0811 ext. 801

richard@elia.org

Patricia Elia

1-866-446-0811 ext. 802

patricia@elia.org

Antoni Casalinuovo

1-866-446-0811 ext. 808

acasalinuovo@elia.org

Ashley Winberg

1-866-446-0811 ext. 806

awinberg@elia.org

Megan Molloy

1-866-446-0811 ext. 805

mmolloy@elia.org

Victor Yee

1-866-446-0811 ext. 810

vyee@elia.org

Jonathan Wright

1-866-446-0811 ext. 603

jwright@elia.org

Julia White

1-866-446-0811 ext. 824

jwhite@elia.org


All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.

www.elia.org

© Elia Associates Professional Corporation, All Rights Reserved