Normally around this time of year, homeowners associations are busy planning tons of summer festivities and social gatherings. This year, however, things are a little bit different due to the persistence of COVID-19.
The CDC continues to discourage large, in-person gatherings. Their current event guidelines state that members of different households remaining at least 6 feet apart and wearing a cloth mask at all times. They also state that food and other items should not be shared amongst members of different households.
How can you adapt to the change to summer festivities? We’ve got a few suggestions we think you might enjoy.
Read on to find out how organized homeowners associations can take charge and adapt your typical summer plans for the safety of your residents.
Is Covid-19 Still a Concern?
Back in March, we watched the nation slowly and unevenly shut down in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. At the time, many of us held out hope that within four to six weeks, we would flatten the curve.
As summer approached, many began to ask the question, “Are we still going to have a summer?”
In the month of June, 7 different states hit new records of positive cases. Many cities began retracting their goals of reopening in the coming weeks as the United States continues to stand as the worst-affected country in the world.
What if your state or city is still loosening its rules and guidelines surrounding social distancing? The truth is that you should continue to discourage large public gatherings and practice Coronavirus social distancing.
However, that doesn’t mean that fun is off the table! Let’s look at a few ways that you can adapt to this uncertain time.
Virtual Social Gatherings
One of the best ways to create a happy neighborhood is to encourage neighbors to meet and mingle. Normally, you might consider throwing a barbeque at the park or a party at the pool. However, this would exceed the current CDC guidelines that discourage gatherings of more than 15 people.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free online resources that allow for virtual gatherings! Google Hangouts is a great tool to use as there are no fees and no limits on how long individuals can stay logged in.
Send out an email or create a post in your neighborhood social media group with a link to your virtual social gathering. Remind attendees that this is a family-friendly function, so inappropriate language or imagery is unwelcome. Then, log on and mingle!
Note that if you normally hold community meetings, this is also the recommended method. If major changes are coming to the neighborhood or residents want to address any concerns, hold a virtual neighborhood meeting.
Social Distancing Block Parties
If your residents live in single-family homes, why not take advantage of everyone’s front lawns?
To increase safety, consider chalking lines on the sidewalks and roads around each neighbor’s property that will keep everyone 6 feet apart. Ask that everyone respects these lines and does not cross them or approach them without a mask.
While it may be unusual, each block can still have a great time! Encourage residents to bring out their grills or make picnic foods for the members of their household. Remind your residents not to share food with their neighbors even though they are dining “together.”
Host a sidewalk chalk competition for the children of your neighborhood. Deliver a box of chalk to each household by dropping it off on their porch a few days in advance. Then, during your social distancing block party, kids and adults alike can take to decorating their driveways or the sidewalk directly in front of your house and you can come through after the party is over to award prizes!
Unsure of what to do for the summer holidays? Many cities and neighborhoods typically hold parades for holidays like the Fourth of July. Because this encourages gathering, most have been canceled for the year.
However, you can still hold a neighborhood parade where no one has to leave their own front yard!
Ask members of the community to decorate their cars with signs, streamers, and other festive materials. Then, spend the afternoon driving up and down each street of your community. That way, everyone can still enjoy the spirit of the summer holidays without putting their health at risk.
Navigating Neighborhood Amenities
Many homeowners associations are unsure of what to do about neighborhood amenities like pools, gyms, and playgrounds. Before you come to any conclusions, make sure you know your state and city regulations. Your hands may be tied, to begin with.
For example, here in California, Governor Newsom is allowing individual counties to enter into Stage 2. Currently, it is up to each county to decide when to reopen gyms, pools, and fitness centers.
In order to stay safe, our recommendation is to keep neighborhood amenities closed unless you can execute a plan to regularly disinfect them. In addition, we suggest that you limit visitors to 10 or less, using a timed schedule to maintain proper distancing. Residents are in close quarters when using many of these amenities and gyms and pools involve contact with equipment and chairs.
Boost Your Homeowners Associations During This Uncertain Time
Homeowners associations are dealing with an unprecedented situation. A lot of questions are being raised by COVID-19, including how to navigate summer plans and social gatherings.
At Silvercreek Association Management, we can help you become the best homeowners association you can be. Contact our office in Sacramento, in Walnut Creek, or in San Jose to find out more about our services and areas of practice.