Residents should limit their interactions with service personnel to only urgent needs Image Credit: Shutterstock

The battle against COVID-19 pandemic now demand people enforce social distancing at all times, even within communities, apartment buildings and common areas to mitigate health risks. Creating a clean and safe environment is a priority for all the landlords, says Tarek Saliba, general manager of Mohamed and Obaid Almulla Real Estate. "We have set strict yet clear guidelines for the safety of our residents and their visitors."

There is a limit to the number of people that can enter the elevator at one time and sanitising dispensers are installed in the common areas, and at the entrances of apartments and communities,” says Saliba. "There is also a limit to the number of people using the swimming pools and gyms, and there is a temperature check for every person accessing the property."

Jeevan D'Mello, CEO of Dubai-based Zenesis Corporation says residents should be more understanding about their expectation when it comes to the technicians and service personnel attending to maintenance issues in private units. "While they may have signed up with such professionals to service their units, they must understand that such employees work in high-risk environments. So residents should limit their interactions with service personnel to only urgent needs,” adds D'Mello.

Social distancing norms

Dr Aamrah Shah, consultant family medicine at American Hospital Dubai says "When it comes to common recreational areas, have a system where residents can reserve the time to use the shared facility and wipe down machines afterwards. Notices should also be displayed regarding regulations and stick adherence to the rules."

Limit deliveries

Managing food and package deliveries safely is also a vital safety measure. HP Aengaar, CEO at Provis says, “We have, for instance, limited deliveries to pick up at the lobby area in vertical communities, restricted lift access to a limited capacity and made special arrangements to support quarantined residents." There are several other health and safety measures put in place to safeguard the health and safety of the residents. "Internal maintenance has been restricted to essential servicing and emergencies only and third-party contractors are allowed access only after reporting recent travel history and passing a health check. Residents are also not allowed to hold gatherings or private events at their homes," he adds.

Common facilities

Aengaar says currently clubhouses and outdoor courts in their properties are operating at 40 per cent of their standard capacity and closely adhering to all precautionary measures mandated by the official authorities.

"For instance, residents must book appointments to access common facilities, go through temperature checks on arrival, use protective facemasks, gloves and hand sanitisers and practice the two-meter social distancing all the times. People are also advised to bring their own personal hygiene kits and water bottles to indoor and outdoor clubhouse facilities. Moreover, lockers, changing rooms, shower rooms, saunas, and jacuzzis remain temporarily closed for our residents' safety," he explains.

D'Mello adds that "several management teams have launched 'no touch' systems and protocols, including smartphone apps, online application systems to enable residents to make appointments, move-in or move-out of their premises and 'e-meet' their service providers."

"There are now innovative arrangements of crowd control at lobbies, lift cars, car parks recreation areas etc. These include safety stickers on the floors, on walls and tissue dispensers, hand sanitizers and no-touch disposal receptacles at the reception and other frequently visited areas, he says.

"Essential items like swimming pool water hygiene, lift maintenance, air quality control, MEP and HVAC systems etc. must have their preventive maintenance regimes well maintained as per schedule. But residents should take extra care when using equipment and material for themselves and for the next person who will use it," he adds.