Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | Anxiety | Depression | mental health | pandemic | covid-19

Coronavirus Fuels Friction at Condos and Apartments

a graphic showing the coronavirus covid-19
(Rasa Messina Francesca/Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 20 April 2020 04:18 PM

Although many Americans have retreated to their single-family homes, there are 70 million living in multi-residence dwellings were isolation is challenging and tensions are running high. 

For example, in the Watergate East apartments in Washington, D.C. — part of the complex made famous by 1972 break-in that bought down President Richard Nixon — one resident was furious the co-op board refused to cancel an April 1 meeting of the residents, citing their action as an "unconscionable risk to public health."

According to SF Gate, shared spaces like elevators or laundry rooms offer increased risk of exposure to the deadly coronavirus which can heighten fear and anxiety in residents. Some buildings are restricting access to closed spaces, and are increasing cleanliness by installing sanitizer dispensers and adding plexiglass shields to front desks. But in general, the lack of rules regarding safety in multi-family dwellings, has left many residents angry and afraid.

As the pandemic spreads, more buildings are also announcing which residents are infected and that has sparked more tension and controversy about whether public health policies should trump privacy, according to SF Gate. And while the virus has placed fear in the hearts of many multi-family buildings, the poor have been the hardest hit.

At one public housing complex in Washington, the 250 residents do not have laundry machines in their buildings, so they have to wash by hand since laundromats have shut down. Resident Markina Hall's refrigerator and toilet are no longer working, leaving her family of five with one toilet and no fresh food.

"I'm going to the grocery store literally every other day," she told SF Gate, adding she often comes home to dirty masks and gloves on the railings — as well as dried blood.

According to Apartment Guide, when you live in a public space like an apartment building or complex, protection against the coronavirus must be more communal because you do not have control of everything that happens. Here are some suggestions on how to keep the peace and increase the safety of your complex:

  • Make hand sanitizer stations available everywhere — at the front desk, by the mailboxes, and encourage residents, staff, and visitors to use them.
  • Clean common areas and sanitize them several times daily. All deliveries should be left in the lobby for pickup and not taken to the apartments.
  • Close the garbage. All trash cans, both outdoor plastic garbage cans and lobby wastebaskets should be closed.
  • Do not come in if you are sick. Apartment management should implement flexible sick leave policies and make sure all workers and staff know their jobs are safe and they will not be docked pay if they stay home sick.
  • Be transparent and communicative. Residents, staff and workers should alert management if they believe they have contracted the coronavirus, especially if they have used common areas.

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Although many Americans have retreated to their single-family homes, there are 70 million living in multi-residence dwellings were isolation is challenging and tensions are running high.
mental health, pandemic, covid-19, apartmentments
Monday, 20 April 2020 04:18 PM
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