The Leafs are back on the ice, the Raptors are looking strong as they gear up to defend their championship and the Jays have taken flight. Things are looking good for Toronto and it doesn’t stop with our sports.
On July 29, 2020, the Ontario government announced that Toronto will be joining its neighbours by moving into Stage 3 of the Province’s reopening plans (unfortunately for our friends in Windsor, they must wait a little longer). Many are excited for the relaxed restrictions and some are rightfully hesitant to assume things are “back to normal”. But what exactly does Phase 3 mean for condominiums across the province?
In a nutshell, little has changed from Stage 2: gyms, pools and party rooms can be reopened with the right precautions. But as with Stage 2, we do not suggest these amenities be opened at this time. Just because these amenities can reopen does not mean they must or should be reopened. To the best of their abilities, condominiums should avoid creating high-traffic areas where the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak increases. The stakes are far too high to gamble with reopening these amenities.
However, the most significant change from Stage 2 to Stage 3 in our view is the increase in social gathering limits. In Stage 3, indoor gatherings will greatly increase from 10 people to a maximum of 50 people. The Government still requires individuals maintain two meters of distance between those not in their household or social circle; social circles (i.e. a group of people who can interact with one another without social distancing) will continue to be capped at 10 persons in Stage 3. We anticipate that many condominiums will see a spike in guest and visitor traffic from residents who confuse the increase in indoor gatherings to mean that “all indoor social gatherings can be increased to 50 people without socially distancing”. We also predict that those condominiums that have reopened their party rooms or outdoor pools will see increased traffic as residents desperately try to make up for lost time this summer; indoor party rooms/pools with an outdoor area are still subject to the 50 person limit.
Whatever the case may be, it would be prudent for a condominium to diligently adhere to its COVID-19 protocol. For starters, this can mean increasing the frequency of its disinfection and sanitation procedures to account for the increase in social interaction. Additionally, if a condominium does not have a face mask policy in place, it would be prudent to impose one – though condominiums were initially exempt from the City of Toronto’s mandatory face mask policy, city council have since passed a resolution requiring masks in condominium common areas . Signage and notices reinforcing the importance of social distancing should also be prominently posted in all common areas.
Daily new COVID-19 counts have been rapidly declining and the move to Stage 3 can be reassuring. But we are not in the clear yet. Fighting this pandemic is a team effort and we all play for the same team: its “us” against “COVID” and everyone must do their part to prevent spread and transmission. By taking the right precautions and preventive measures, your condominium can do its part to ensure the safety of its residents. With a little patience and diligence, we must all work together to get through these unprecedented times.