How to Manage Social Distancing at Apartment Communities

Many areas are requiring people to self-quarantine to slow the spread of coronavirus. Is your apartment community one of them? Here are some tips to help manage your residents.

I’ve never heard the term “social distancing” before, but now it’s everywhere. And its practice is critical to slow the spread of coronavirus. Where I am in New Jersey, schools are closed (I’ve already let Professor Elmo teach my 3 year old today), and no one is supposed to have large gatherings. Nationally, sports are on hold, Broadway is closed, concerts are being postponed, among many other things. Hopefully, this will all be a short blip.

Is your apartment community practicing social distancing? If you’re not currently, unfortunately it looks like you probably will eventually, as more and more areas are asking that people self quarantine. Do you have a plan for your residents? Here are some suggestions.

Communicate with your residents. People need to know what’s going on. If your area is requiring people to self quarantine, let your residents know. Also, let them know what’s being done in the community in terms of cleaning procedures, who on staff will be able to be reached, how to pay rent, etc. For example, are maintenance workers only available for emergencies? These are things that are crucial for your renters to know.

But, maybe cut down on social media posts. I check my social media constantly. I’m always mindlessly scrolling on Instagram and Facebook. I’m a member of several parent groups and area happenings groups. But, if there were ever a time for me to cut down, it would be now. Notification after notification: they think they heard someone in town tested positive for coronavirus; this store is out of toilet paper; here’s a homeschool schedule that you can try out that involves seven straight hours of math problems for your kindergartner; did you hear this person might have coronavirus—I know from my uncle’s wife’s hairstylist, and oh, by the way, make sure to still shop local because people like the hairstylists are really struggling now but also don’t, under any circumstances, go near other people. Information is necessary, but sometimes you just want to read about how Bachelor Pilot Pete already broke up with Madison, you know? The deluge of rumors and fear mongering on social media is really upping people’s anxiety. Even the CDC says social media might be upsetting! If there’s important information for your residents, it might be better to email it. That way they’ll be sure to see it and it won’t get buried under the endless stream on social media.

Stock up on supplies and even food for residents who need it, and check in on them. Some of your residents might not be able to leave their apartments, especially your older residents or those who might have an illness. If you have an area to stock up on supplies, it would be great to keep items to help out.

Continue to be vigilant with cleaning. Wipe down all surfaces that people might touch, such as mail boxes, gym equipment (if your gym is still open) and the front desk. As more people work from home, people might be using the conference room more for printing or making calls, so make sure that’s frequently being cleaned.

Figure out what you’re going to do about late rent. A lot of people can work from home. Unfortunately, some can’t. If people aren’t working, they might not be able to have their rent on time. So you need to figure out (either building-wide or company-wide) a plan for this. Can people have more time? A payment plan? This is new territory for everyone, of course, so you might have to be more flexible than usual.

Provide [wrapped] snacks. If there’s anything that can boost people’s spirits, it’s free food. People might be leery of unwrapped or homemade treats now. But wrapped granola bars or packs of chips can be wiped down. Mmmm, disinfected Doritos!

Do the residents in your community have to self quarantine? What are some other suggestions for helping with social distancing in apartments? Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur. (Yes, I get the irony of saying this after I said to stay off social media.)

Stay safe, everyone!

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