Community Associations and Mask Mandates: What Your Community Should Know
The arrival of COVID-19 changed the way we shop, socialize, and work. Mask mandates are in place throughout the country as a safeguard against the spread of the virus. Understanding how to apply such mandates to your community is important for maintaining a healthy and happy association. Though not every community will need to address Masks as they relate to COVID, some communities with shared common areas that are not covered in specific government mandates may need to address it as a governing body for the community.
Masks and COVID-19
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), wearing a mask can help protect you and others from obtaining a variety of viruses but specifically it is key to preventing the spread and transmission of COVID-19. Part of the problem with stopping a pandemic is that while it's common for people who feel sick to self-isolate there are two key types of those infected with the virus who may be unintentionally spreading the virus. They are asymptomatic patients and those who are pre-symptomatic:
- Asymptomatic: People who have the virus but who never develop symptoms.
- Pre-Symptomatic: People who have the virus but who do not yet exhibit symptoms.
The CDC reports that a mask protects others from both types of infected people and helps prevents the infected from spreading the disease. To stop the spread, states throughout the nation have varying rules regarding mask use and even at the county level the Mask Mandates may be variable and can change with the numbers of those infected.
Implementing a mandatory mask rule for your community can be a challenge, especially when you are trying to ensure the safety of elderly or at-risk residents. Depending on the type of community amenities you have, you might actually be legally responsible for keeping those ordinances or enforcing their regulation. Implementing an association mask mandate may outweigh the risks of an association-wide COVID-19 outbreak. Aligning a possible mandate in accordance with state rules is perhaps the safest way to structure your policy. Speaking to your community's legal counsel before starting any discussions around the topic is also a smart move.
To Mask Or Not to Mask
Mask mandates are a proactive approach to controlling the spread of COVID-19. Associations that choose to not require masks in common areas and other potential areas of contact with others may find themselves in a reactive situation. Due to not implementing safety measures within the association, the potential for liability may exceed the pushback from residents regarding a mask mandate.
Following the state order or guidelines for your association can help you guide members through the pandemic. Other measures that associations can take regarding COVID-19 include:
- Reminding members of the 6-foot social distancing rule
- Temporarily closing common areas
- Limiting or postponing nonessential maintenance work
- Cleaning and sanitizing high contact areas
- Replacing in-person association meetings with virtual meetings
Requiring masks in association common areas is possibly required by state order. Expanding a mask mandate to include within member homes and units —along with a possible fine —is something to discuss with the association attorney.
By controlling the spread through the important tips listed above, everyone can do their part to remain healthy into the new year. Communicating these tips consistently via association newsletters, social media sites, and with posted flyers can remind everyone to stay safe.
RealManage Property Management Can Help Your Association
Wearing a mask is not fun, and the pandemic is stressful for everyone. The statistics regarding the virus are, however, concerning. Maintaining social distances, sanitizing surfaces, and mask use are basic steps necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. To learn more about HOAs and COVID-19, visit this informational page from RealManage: Community Covid-19 Resources.In addition to COVID-19, the standard day-to-day management of your association must continue. RealManage can assist you by providing property management that supports board functions and policies.
RealManage stands ready to help your association through this pandemic and with other forms of supports. From board guidance to budget oversight, our professional team is here for you. As volunteers, association board members have enough to manage in addition to possible mask mandates. If your association needs strong property management services, let us help. Complete an online proposal request today.