Community associations have a lot to consider as they react to the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether to require face masks for residents and staff members. A new tool puts valuable information in the hands of board members, community association managers, and their legal counsel.
Researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute created a unified set of metrics, including a shared definition of risk levels and tools, for communities to fight COVID-19. This includes a new, online risk-assessment map that allows people to check the state or the county where they live and see a COVID-19 risk rating of green, yellow, orange, or red. The risk levels are based on the number of new daily cases per 100,000 people.
Several states recently have paused or even reversed reopenings amid alarming increases in new COVID-19 cases. Texas and Florida have reinstated previous restrictions. Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oregon have paused reopening.
Meanwhile, many states and localities have adopted regulations mandating the use of face masks inside public facilities. Washington state mandates face masks for indoor public facilities and outdoor if residents are unable to meet the 6-foot social distancing requirement. Many states require face masks for employees of businesses.
Does that mean community association managers and on-site engineering staff, front desk staff, and other personnel need to wear face masks? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a face mask, especially inside, to help stop the spread of the virus.
This also presents an interesting issue for community associations, especially condominiums, housing cooperatives, and other multi-family housing buildings with shared space. Should they require residents to wear masks?
To make it more challenging, some localities within states that have mandatory mask laws declared that they are not enforcing the restriction. While community association boards may not be obligated to enforce face masks requirements, state and local mask requirements, CDC guidelines, and Harvard’s new online risk assessment map can help boards, their managing agents, and legal counsel make important decisions.
For a complete list of state face mask requirements, visit https://www.caionline.org/Pages/statecovid19.aspx.
While we are engulfed in COVID-19, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind my fellow Americans to proudly display our American Flag in honor of Independence Day. July Fourth festivities may look different than previous years as parades, carnivals, and many firework displays are canceled, but we will get through this pandemic and celebrate again soon. Stay healthy and safe, and have a happy Fourth of July.