Normally, many of us would be gearing up to spend this week surrounded by friends and loved ones to celebrate Easter and Passover. However, in light of COVID-19, the holidays are going to be celebrated quite differently.
This year, we will be celebrating the holidays with our immediate household only.
Though there may be a desire for residents to invite loved ones over to spend the holidays with, Managers and Board members should remind residents that they are strongly encouraged to limit visitors to only those who are deemed to be essential, such as care providers.
Corporations may want to remind residents that despite their family and friends being inclined to drop off food or other items in celebration of the holidays, partaking in non-essential visits is inconsistent with protocols recommended by public health officials. However, an increase in deliveries to the corporation may be expected during this time, and if not already done, corporations should consider implementing a policy for delivery that minimizes the risk posed to both residents and the corporation’s staff.
While this would usually be a time to gather (in groups larger than five), this year, celebrations with extended family and friends should be encouraged to be held virtually (think, Facetime!), in lieu of in-person.
Residents should be reminded that despite it being the holidays, they must continue to take the required precautions recommended by public health officials.
Moreover, on April 3, 2020, the Ontario government released a revised list of essential services resulting in tighter restrictions on short-term rentals and renovations. Briefly, the highlights of these updates are as follows:
- In condominiums where short-term rentals are explicitly permitted, short-term rentals booked after April 4, 2020 have been severely restricted. They are now only permitted if providing accommodation to those “who are in need of housing during the emergency period.”
Most condominium corporations that permit short-tern rentals have completely ceased allowing short-term rentals during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the health and safety of the residents and service providers. For those corporations that may still permit it, owners must ensure that whoever is renting the unit qualifies as being within the limited permissible group of those “in need of housing during the emergency period.” The government did not specify who would fall under this approved list of individuals, however, this clearly prohibits typical vacation rentals.
- Maintenance and repair works that is strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation” of the corporation may continue. Now is not the time to be planting your spring flower beds; this is not “strictly necessary” for the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of the building.
- Renovations (to be distinguished from maintenance and repair) to common elements may continue, but only where the work was commenced prior to April 4, 2020. That being said, the Board or contractor may agree to delay the renovations due to COVID-19.
Wherever possible, in-suite renovations should be delayed. Renovations to residential units that commenced before April 4 may proceed, subject to additional restrictions that may have been implemented by a corporation to help stop the spread by limiting the number of non-essential individuals on the property. The corporation should consult with legal counsel if there is any uncertainty as to whether in-suite renovations should continue during the COVID-19 Emergency Order.
Corporations and unit owners should not be commencing non-urgent repairs or renovations to units or common elements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though the holidays will be different this year, don’t forget that Doug Ford declared the Easter Bunny an essential service, if you need an excuse to fill up with chocolate!
We’d like to wish all of our readers a Happy Easter and Chag Sameach, and hope that everyone stays safe.
Don’t forget to sign up for next week’s CondoVirus webinar. Click here to register.