As Ontario enters Phase 3 of reopening from Covid-19 restrictions, many businesses and facilities in Ottawa are allowing for greater public access which has brightened the spirits of many of our tenants at Primecorp Property Management. To enjoy a meal on a sunny patio, to be able to safely connect and gather with friends and family, or to get out and enjoy many of the fine entertainment and recreational options that are reopening in our nation’s capital, can be uplifting to our spirits and mental health. However, we are only in position to do so because as a country we’ve taken the pandemic seriously, practiced social distancing, vigorous hand washing and the adoption of face masks in situations where it is difficult to physically distance.
Living in close quarters, such as in multi-residential apartment rentals, presents its own set of challenges as we all try to stay vigilant and protect each other from further spread of the virus, but also try to embrace the gradual reopening of our economy and public spaces. In this post, Primecorp Property Management has compiled some tips for apartment living in Ottawa in the age of Covid-19.
Maintain Physical Distancing in Common Areas of Apartment Buildings
Practicing physical distancing, by staying at least 2 meters apart, remains one of the consistent messages from our public health officials in Ottawa and across Canada. As scientists learn more about the transmission of the virus, there is a shared consensus that heavy, virus-laden droplets from the mouth and throat of contagious individuals is one of the primary means by which the disease is spread to others. Staying at least 2 meters apart from others, greatly reduces the prospect of being immediately exposed to droplets that are naturally exhaled when someone coughs or sneezes.
While renting an apartment has its upside, such as close proximity to important amenities, and having much of the maintenance taken care of by landlords and property managers, apartment living presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to physical distancing. We discourage lingering in common areas such as hallways, apartment lobbies and laundry rooms. Of course you still need to do laundry, but care should be taken to do so at off-peak times as much as your schedule permits.
Frequent & Thorough Hand Washing is Highly Recommended
Be aware of what surfaces you’re touching in laundry rooms and other common areas. Primecorp Property Management’s staff is doing our best to frequently clean and sanitize all high traffic areas within our buildings, but public health guidelines suggest frequent and thorough hand washing throughout the day as much as possible. Where hand washing is not possible, we suggest that you use hand sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol. Gloves can be used as well, but they must be changed frequently and also sanitized, especially with prolonged usage. No matter how frequently you wash your hands, try to avoid touching your face as much as possible. Try using your forearms to open common area doors, or the back of your knuckles for elevator buttons.
Wear a Face Mask in Close Quarters
When it’s not possible to physically distance, especially in indoor settings such as the grocery store, face masks are highly recommended and increasingly mandated by local and provincial authorities across Canada as a scientifically proven method of reducing the spread of Covid-19. On July 15, 2020, Ottawa city council passed a temporary bylaw making face masks mandatory in Ottawa public spaces. Although this bylaw doesn’t apply to apartment buildings as they are considered private residences, we encourage all of our tenants and visitors to use sound judgment. If you need to be situated in an indoor space for a prolonged period of time where there can be heavy foot traffic, such as a laundry room, it might be a good idea to wear a face mask. Also remember to be kind to those who are exempt from the face mask bylaw, such as small children and people with certain disabilities or medical conditions. Non-medical face masks can now be purchased at many retail outlets, such as Canadian Tire, or through a variety of online suppliers.
Mental Health is Also Important
One of the consequences of prolonged periods of economic lockdown and increased anxiety and uncertainty resulting from the spread of Covid-19 is a deterioration in mental health. Recent surveys by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found heightened levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, binge drinking and stress over financial concerns when the spread of the virus was rising in early May. As we worked to flatten the curve across Canada, the levels on many of these metrics started to subside, but we are not out of the woods, especially as there has been a recent uptick in new infections in the Ottawa Area through the month of July.
What Can We Do for Our Mental Health?
Many of us have had to “shelter-in-place” for several months, working from home and caring for children or older family members. And although these responsibilities can keep us busy, it’s also important to seek out rejuvenating personal development activities for our own wellbeing. Some activities that come to mind are learning a new hobby or a new language, taking an online course to sharpen your skills, signing up for online fitness classes to stay physically active and engaged, or perhaps leaning some new recipes to add to your culinary repertoire. We must all do our part to get through this difficult time the best that we can.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there are many resources in the Ottawa area that you can tap into before your situation further deteriorates. See the following mental health resource guide compiled by Ottawa Public Health. Equally, if you are experiencing financial distress due to the Covid-19 pandemic, various forms of financial assistance are available from the Government of Canada.
Stay Connected with Friends & Family
Let’s also not forget that we are social beings. Most of us have cell phones or computers with decent cameras that we can use to virtually reach out to friends and family on Zoom, Hangouts, Chime, Skype or even an old fashioned voice call. Perhaps more than ever, we need to connect with those we’re close to just to say, “Hey, I was thinking about you and wondering how you’re doing.” Who wouldn’t like to get this kind of message from someone they care about?
Be Considerate to Your Neighbours
Each of us has different stresses to deal with during the pandemic and many of us are now forced to work from home. A little consideration can go a long way toward making your neighbours’ lives a little easier in areas like noise level, garbage clean up and in our attitudes towards each other as we all struggle to make it through, what is perhaps the most challenging time in a generation.
Be Patient Regarding Property Management Services
Our dedicated staff have had to address maintenance issues on an emergency and priority basis, while ensuring distancing and other safety requirements are met. They have been instructed to stay home and self-isolate if they are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19. During this difficult time, property managers are doing their best to keep up with service demands, with enhanced safety protocols in place. Please be patient when submitting your requests for maintenance and other services.
If we all do our part, we will get through this together and come out stronger as a community.