This information is for multi-unit property owners, managers and condominium association members to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the people that live and work in your buildings.
Because every setting is unique, we are providing these tips and resources to help property owners and managers assess their needs and identify precautions to take for their apartment or condo communities.
Because the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, it is advisable to follow official advice from government sources and adapt building operations as the situation requires. Continue to communicate with residents and tenants regularly to advise them of the measures being taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Follow official public health and medical advice closely and reinforce public health messages with building staff and residents.
Communications should be calm and fact-based, using public health resources to promote strategies to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
Communicate clearly the Infection Prevention and Control Measures. See the tabs below for more information on each specific to rental properties and condos. These should be used together for optimal effectiveness.
- The goal of screening should be to ensure that no non-residents with symptoms of COVID-19 enter the building.
- Address how non-residents (e.g. maintenance staff, contractors) will be screened. It is up to individual settings to determine their screening approach. Screening can be done actively or passively. Active screening is recommended for facilities that work with vulnerable populations (e.g. seniors/retirement homes, communal living spaces) and passive screening for the general public.
- Active screening involves having a designated staff person ask the screening questions before allowing someone to enter.
- Passive screening involves placing a sign at all entrances and asking non-residents to screen themselves by reading the sign and answering the questions before entering.
Screening can include the following questions:
- Are you feeling unwell or do you have any new or unexplained symptoms (respiratory or other)?
- A full list of symptoms of COVID-19 can be found on the Stay Home When Sick page.
- Have you travelled outside of Northwestern Ontario within the past 14 days?
- Have you been in close contact with someone who is waiting on a COVID-19 test result?
- Have you been in close contact with someone who is confirmed to currently have COVID-19?
Anyone who answers “YES” to any of these questions should be advised to self-isolate immediately and call TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 294-6630 for further instructions.
A Screening Poster (English PDF) and Screening Poster (French PDF) is available for use across the area TBDHU serves (current as of May 22, 2020). Please note that this is a general screening poster and it may need to be modified based on the specific needs of the facility/population using the facility.
- Promote frequent hand-washing by employees, contractors and residents using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is important to wash hands after using the washroom, before preparing or eating food, after contact with frequently touched surfaces, upon returning home from work or a public place.
- If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (that contains minimum 60% alcohol).
- Provide access to hand washing facilities and place hand sanitizing dispensers in prominent locations throughout the building, if possible. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled.
- Display posters promoting hand washing in visible locations. Printable resources are available on the Hand Hygiene page. Combine this with other communication (i.e. resident email, community website).
- Display posters promoting cough etiquette. Printable resources are available on the Cover Your Coughs page. Combine this with other communication (i.e. resident email, community website).
- If symptoms develop, the person should immediately self-isolate and do the Ontario Self-Assessment Tool. If staff, they should be instructed on respiratory etiquette and sent home (not using public transit, if possible).
- Non-medical masks or face coverings are recommended to be worn when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. For more information on masks, visit the Cover your Coughs page.
- Residential buildings are encouraged to increase the frequency of cleaning of commonly touched surfaces to twice daily or more (e.g., door knobs, push bars, handrails, light switches, phones, elevator buttons, lobby furnishings, surface counters, customer service counters, etc.).
- It is also recommended to remove items in common areas that cannot be easily cleaned (e.g., newspapers, magazines, stuffed toys, etc.).
- All waste can go into regular garbage bins that are lined. Employees who handle waste should be careful not to touch any used tissues. They should wash their hands with soap and water immediately after emptying wastebaskets and garbage bins.
- See the Public Health Ontario: Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Places resource for frequency and product recommendations.
- See “Amenity and Common Spaces” below for additional precautions.
- Rental properties and condominiums that hire contractors to perform cleaning duties can refer to the Fact Sheet: Guidance for Janitorial Services.
- Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. For details on cleaning and disinfecting products and how to use them, see the Environmental Cleaning page.
- Everyone in Ontario should practice physical distancing of 2 metres to reduce their exposure to other people. This means avoiding close contact from other people outside of the household to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Promote physical distancing in your building and post reminders in places where people may be closer than 2 metres together (e.g. entrances and exits, elevators). Printable posters can be found on the Physical Distancing page. Combine this with other communication (i.e. electronic newsletters, emails, community website, etc.).
- If possible, increase the spatial separation between furnishings in lobbies, common areas, etc. Ideally a 2 metre separation should be maintained.
- Postpone where possible non-essential maintenance within apartments/units, handling only urgent issues.
- Maintenance personnel should wear gloves when performing essential services in an occupied apartment unit and thoroughly wash their hands after completing any service. Extra caution should be taken to ensure that vulnerable residents are not exposed to maintenance personnel or other staff who should be self-isolating.
- Physical distancing means to be physically separated from other people; however, it is still important to stay socially connected through other means, like phone calls, Skype, or FaceTime.
- Ontarians should be practicing physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Avoid close contact (within 2 metres) with people outside of immediate family / people within the household. Ontarians are strongly advised to stay home except for essential outings.
- Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act public events and social gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. This order would not apply to private households with five people or more.
- The decision to hold a small meeting or event of less than 5 people should be made carefully by weighing the risks / benefits of the event. As much as possible, find alternate ways of meeting, for example, electronically.
- Property owners/managers need to be proactive to protect their employees and residents to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
- To protect residents, close non-essential amenity spaces (e.g. meeting/party rooms, gyms, indoor recreational areas) at this time. During this closure, amenity spaces can be cleaned and disinfected.
- Increase cleaning and disinfection in areas of common use that will remain open, such as laundry rooms, mail rooms or mailboxes, storage areas, garbage chutes / bins, entryways, doors, stairwells, elevators, enter-phones, etc.
- Provide hand hygiene products in common areas.
- Consider restricting access to these areas at specific times daily for thorough cleaning and disinfection.
- Post signs in common areas in use encouraging physical distancing of 2 metres, following proper hand washing practices and cough etiquette.
- Support residents to practice physical distancing, self-monitoring, or self-isolation depending on their risk of COVID-19.
- Maintain regular communication with residents and encourage mutual support within the apartment community.
- Encourage residents who are self-isolating to reach out to family and friends for support.
- Refer residents to 211 and 211north.ca for up-to-date information and resources in their local community, such as food delivery, mental health services, etc.
- Healthy residents or staff can check in on neighbours by phone or speaking through the door and can assist with delivery of food or medicines or access to services.
- Remember that vulnerable residents may depend on outside assistance to obtain food and necessary goods.
- Residents can also help with keeping common areas clean and disinfected. Ask how you can help and provide cleaning supplies if needed. Supplies should be clearly labeled and be in accordance with environmental cleaning guidelines above.
- Residents should be encouraged to screen themselves using the Ontario Self-Assessment Tool. If they have any symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild, they should call TBDHU at 1 (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 294-6630 for further instructions.
- For residents who have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days due to a risk of COVID-19 exposure, this means that they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease:
- Do not go to work, school or other public places (indoor or outdoor).
- Do not use public transportation, taxis or ride shares.
- Do not go outside for a walk, bike ride, etc.
- Do not go into any communal or shared areas, such as hallways, public washrooms, elevators, stairwells, laundry rooms, etc.
- If you have access to your own yard you can use it, ensuring that you keep 2 metres distance from any public space.
- For more details on self-isolation for residents advised to self-isolate, visit the Self-Isolation page.
- Residents with dogs who are self-isolating and do not have a private yard may need assistance from others to walk their dog, or may lodge their dog elsewhere temporarily.
- Residents are not required to disclose their health status to property owners, managers or condo associations. However, property owners and managers should communicate regularly with residents and offer support for residents who may need help with self-isolating.
- For questions regarding community supports, residents can be advised to call 211 or visit 211north.ca for up to date information and resources in their local community such as food delivery, mental health services, etc.
- Encourage residents who may be self-isolating to reach out to friends and family for help.
- If management is made aware of a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 in any rental property or condo and have questions, they should contact TBDHU at 1 (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 294-6630.
- To protect the privacy of residents, owners and managers should not identify by name anyone in the building who is a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19. It is the role of Thunder Bay District Health Unit to follow up on any confirmed cases and contact any individuals who may have come into close contact with a case.
- Stay inside and avoid contact with other people when you’re not feeling well. If you experience symptoms of COVID-19, call TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 294-6630. Reach out to other residents, family or friends if you need assistance or call 211 or visit 211North.ca for information on support services.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before and after eating, after using washroom, and after touching surfaces like door handles, elevator buttons, garbage chute handles, stair rails, etc.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands.
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or into a tissue. Discard used tissues and wash hands right away.
- Frequently clean commonly-touched surfaces in your unit. Common household disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Visit the Environmental Cleaning page for tips.
- Only make essential trips into the community, but staying active and spending time outdoors is still important. Visit the Physical Activity and COVID-19 page to learn more about staying active during the pandemic.
- Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from others outside of your household. This includes:
- In an elevator.
- In shared spaces like the lobby, laundry facility, and mail room.
- When using outdoor spaces.
- When maintenance workers are in your unit doing repairs that cannot be delayed.
- Pre-sort laundry before using the facility and fold clean clothes when you return home.
- Wipe down controls and handles before and after use with a disinfectant.
- Don’t shake dirty laundry.
- Wash on warmer temperatures with regular detergent.
- Dry items at highest temperature possible and dry them completely.
For more laundry tips, check out the Safe Laundry during COVID-19 poster.
- Assess whether you need to move from one place to another at this time, and consider delaying a move if possible.
- If moving is necessary, take precautions like keeping a physical distance of 2 metres from others, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette at all times during the moving process.
Healthy people can be a big help to others at this time by:
- Reaching out to neighbours who may be self-isolating and offering to assist with groceries, walking pets, delivering meals, etc. (remember to keep a safe distance of 2 metres at all times).
- Keeping common areas tidy.
- Protecting people’s privacy by not discussing with others if you know of someone who has been tested for (or has confirmed positive for) COVID-19.
- Staying virtually connected with telephone calls or video chats.