COVID-19 guidance for housing managers, staff and residents
For apartment buildings, condominiums, and similar residential communities
Encourage residents and staff to practice social distancing and wear face coverings
Social distancing is one of the most important things we can do to fight the pandemic.
- Support staff in practicing social distancing. Allow staff to telecommute and use flexible leave time wherever possible.
- Post information in staff areas, common spaces, and entry points about actions everyone should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Find downloadable signs in multiple languages on the Public Health website.
- Share information about COVID-19 with residents in multiple languages. Find materials on the Public Health website.
- Encourage staff, residents, and visitors to wear cloth face coverings in spaces where they could come within 6 feet of someone they don't live with. Find downloadable signs in multiple languages on the Public Health website.
Manage use of common areas
- Consider closing common areas that do not support residents' basic needs, like entertainment rooms.
- Take precautions in common areas that remain open, like pet relief areas and shared computer workstations:
- Ensure that staff or residents clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces between users. These include keyboards, touch screens, and exercise equipment.
- Ensure that staff and residents can remain at least 6 feet apart at all times while using common areas. If needed, limit the number of people using a common area at the same time. Consider using visual reminders about 6-foot spacing.
- Limit access to visitors. Continue to allow essential visitors, like home care workers, healthcare workers, and emergency maintenance.
- Encourage residents to connect with family and friends by phone and/or online and to postpone visits that are not essential.
- If possible, limit visitor access to a single point of entry in your building that staff can easily monitor.
- Post signs at entrances instructing essential visitors to not enter if they are sick or if they have had close contact with a person who may have or does have COVID-19.
- Post signs that tell visitors to limit their movement in the building and their use of common areas.
Conduct tours virtually, when possible
- Conduct virtual tours of apartments and condominiums using apps such as FaceTime or Google Duo. If that is not an option, send photographs of the living space to potential residents.
- If you must conduct an in-person tour, ensure that all people stay at least 6 feet apart. Do not allow more than two people in a unit at a time. For instance, allow the prospective resident to view rooms while staff stay outside or in a different room.
- Before conducting an in-person tour of an occupied unit, always get full consent from the current tenant. If the tenant refuses, conduct the tour virtually.
Be aware of residential construction guidelines
As of April 24, construction is allowed if all individuals stay at least six feet apart. Construction supervisors must take steps to protect both workers and residents.
Monitor staff health
- Screen staff in person or by phone for symptoms of the virus at the start of every day. Anyone with symptoms and people at high risk of infection should not come to work. Risk factors include being age 60 and over, having an underlying health condition or a weakened immune system, and being pregnant.
- Contact Public Health's COVID-19 Call Center with questions about symptoms and risk factors. Hours: 8 AM – 7 PM. Phone #: 206-477-3977.
Take precautions if you have a case in your housing community
- If you believe someone in your housing community has or may have COVID-19, do not share their personal health information. The person's identity is protected health information.
- Follow CDC's recommendations for protecting essential workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Clean and disinfect thoroughly. Follow CDC's Interim Recommendations for U.S. Community Facilities with Suspected/Confirmed COVID-19.
- If the identity of a case is known, visitors and staff should not enter the unit.
- It is not necessary to alert residents about possible cases.
Frequently clean and disinfect public spaces
- Clean and disinfect all high-touch several times each day, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, and railings. Clean and disinfect items in common spaces (e.g. keyboards and fitness equipment) after each user.
- Use common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
- Make sure garbage cans are available for used tissues and paper towels.
Work safely in residential units
Limit maintenance work in units as much as feasible. Staff who need to enter a resident’s unit should:
- Wash hands or use sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content) before entering. Wear clean gloves if possible.
- Keep at least 6 feet of distance from residents.
- Disinfect all work surfaces before leaving the unit.
Wear face protection
Wear a face covering in any space where you might come within 6 feet of someone you don't live with. If you may have close contact with someone that has or may have COVID-19, follow this face protection guidance.
Practice social distancing
- Stay at home in your residential unit (unless you are an essential worker) as much as possible. In particular, avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home and away from others when you are sick.
- Limit trips for groceries, gas, and other household needs.
- If you leave your residence, always stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Limit use of common spaces, like pet relief areas, computer labs, and storage rooms. Only use these spaces if you can stay at least 6 feet apart from residents and staff at all times.
Wear a cloth face covering in public
Wear a cloth face covering in any space where you might come within 6 feet of someone you don't live with, including elevators, lobbies, and shared laundry rooms. Do not use cloth face coverings on children under age 2, on anyone who has trouble breathing, or on anyone who cannot remove the mask on their own.
- Only allow visitors who are providing essential services. This include services that cannot wait and cannot be done over the phone or online.
- Be aware that some construction and emergency repairs may need to continue in your building to address unsafe conditions and other needs that cannot wait. Workers in your building are expected to take steps to protect everyone's health. These include staying at least 6 feet away from you and other residents, washing their hands or using hand sanitizer between units, wearing a mask, and cleaning workspaces frequently.
- Consider creative ways to connect with others from a distance. Use phone calls, conference calls, and online video conferencing for work, meetings, and to stay in touch with friends and family.
Practice healthy habits
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If handwashing facilities are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Do not share personal items like drinking glasses, eating utensils, and towels with other people.
Frequently clean high-touch surfaces in your household
Frequently disinfect and clean high touch surfaces. This includes phones, keyboards, kitchen countertops, toilets, faucets and doorknobs. Standard cleaning products are effective against COVID-19.
Make a plan
Review CDC's guidance for household members, Get Your Home Ready.
Please follow guidance from the Washington State Department of Health. King County residents can also call Public Health's COVID-19 Call Center with questions about symptoms and risk factors. Hours: 8 AM – 7 PM. Phone #: 206-477-3977.
Please note: Per CDC guidance, essential workers such as janitors and healthcare workers can continue to work if they were exposed to COVID-19 as long as they do not have any symptoms AND steps are taken to protect them and the community.