The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us live our lives. Perhaps most significantly, it has made us more aware of hygiene and the methods employed to prevent infections. This encompasses everything from washing hands for an appropriate amount of time to most effective and most comfortable types of face masks.
In the wake of the pandemic, we are seeing a residual conscientiousness that is seeking to prevent the return of rising case numbers. High street stores are opening to limited capacity, restaurant staff are wearing PPE, and our schools are teaching pupils how to social distance. But, when it comes to our residential buildings, however, are we doing enough?
Living in a shared residential space, such as an apartment block, the risk of contamination is increased. This is because you are coming into contact and occupying space with other potential carriers of Covid-19. For this reason, and for the general upkeep of cleanliness and health within your building, measures should be taken by both the building’s managerial team and its tenants.
The act of sanitising is an incredibly effective deterrent against a potential virus. As such, sanitisation stations should be installed and used in high-traffic areas, such as stairwells and entrances. By doing so and encouraging tenants to sanitise their hands, surfaces in common areas will also reduce the likelihood of contamination, such as those of timber fire doors and bins.
Sanitising sprays should also be used by building employees to clean all surfaces that may have had potential contact with visitors and tenants. Commonly used areas like elevators and handrails should be cleaned frequently too, as these are high-risk areas, coming into contact with skin more often.
While the governmental guidelines on social distancing may change over time, if there is concern about coming into contact with a carrier or people would like to prevent themselves from spreading illness, a building should allow for reasonable distances to be kept between visitors and tenants where possible.
This can be enacted by reducing the number of seats in a waiting area or installing a queue system by the reception area. If there is concern about areas of congestion or notable congregation within your building, you should notify building staff immediately.
When a resident is forced to self-isolate, it can be difficult for them to manage themselves without leaving their apartment and travelling through shared areas. Online groups, messaging groups, and noticeboards can support tenant interaction and encourage them to help another, such as with groceries, and prevent the need for an isolating person to leave their apartment at all.
Building employees should be encouraged to wear PPE, such as face guards, or have access to counter-top shields to better protect both themselves and others. These should be insisted upon when staff are required to entire a tenant’s room or in instances where support is given to a disabled tenant. If necessary, consider restructuring the building’s furniture, especially in communal areas, to better support limited interaction.