The Board’s Responsibility
Residents will be looking to the board and the associations staff to take the proper steps to keep them safe. But residents also have an obligation to take steps to keep themselves and their neighbors safe and to heed the protocols being put in place by the board. Education, communication and strict adherence to thoughtful protocols will be key throughout the coming weeks. Boards need to identify reliable sources for information and establish channels through which official information will be disseminated to the residents. If the board has several methods of communication (website, FB page, email group, in-house cable channel, phone hotline, etc.) pick one which will be the official source, so residents know to always go there for up-to-date information. In Florida, a significant number of owners may be headed back to homes up north. Boards need to understand that these owners will also want to be kept informed of developing circumstances whether they are in residence or not. If your board chooses to use a social media forum to inform and educate its members, now is the time to republish the disclaimer and rules on that site. The board should not take on the task of providing medical advice and people posting on the site should be reminded that rumors and inaccurate information is neither welcomed nor permitted and will be removed.
Some boards find it difficult to work together on a regular basis. While discordant voices sometimes result in positive outcomes, now is the time for your board to work together in the midst of a health crisis. The management of this crisis will likely have significant short-term and long-term impacts on your community. The safety of your residents must be your paramount concern. Covid-19 may prompt boards to expand their emergency plans which were previously based on real property damage to include planning for a pandemic as well.
Florida’s Department of Health has a 24-hour helpline at (866) 779-6121. When boards get push-back from their owners about new or changed policies, they need to be able to explain how they framed their decisions; relying upon assistance from experts provides a safety net for the board in this regard.
Associations can get the latest Florida Information at the following website. http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/
Grays Systems, Inc will be monitoring the situation and will inform you if we become aware of additional information.