CAI Coronavirus statement - February 2020
CAI is monitoring the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on community associations. We are encouraging CAI members, chapters, and the community associations industry in general—from homeowner leaders, community association managers, management company executives, and business partners—to follow the latest guidance and updates issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause the common cold and more severe diseases such as COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19, which can appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure, can include fever, runny nose, cough, and breathing trouble.
Most develop only mild disease. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
As of late February, there have been nearly 82,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,770 deaths around the globe. Only 60 cases have been confirmed in the U.S.
Compared to the seasonal flu, CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 29 million flu illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations, and 16,000 deaths.
The CDC has recommended that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea and is suggesting postponing nonessential travel to Iran, Italy, and Japan.
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your health care provider immediately.
Communities, chapters, and businesses should take the appropriate measures to ensure a hygienic environment, including regular cleaning of common areas and meeting spaces, and refilling of soap and hand sanitizers.
The best way to prevent the spread of illnesses, such as COVID-19, seasonal flu, and other respiratory viruses and germs, is to practice everyday preventive actions, including:
- Get a flu vaccine.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
In the event of a widespread outbreak in the U.S., community associations may wish to review state statutes and governing documents to determine whether it’s possible to conduct association business remotely. Generally, there are several methods by which association members or association boards transact business in the absence of everyone gathering at the same time and location—some form of written consent, electronic meetings, or a vote outside a physical meeting.
In-person meetings are almost always preferred. Announcing and holding a meeting avoids questions about notice and due process. In addition, meetings allow for deliberation where proposals can be discussed and minds changed. Most online and electronic voting simply permits an up or down vote on a proposal.
There are circumstances in which a meeting is simply not possible, so it is worth considering what other options exist to transact business. Community associations should contact their attorney.
Classes and events
As of late February, CAI headquarters is planning to hold previously scheduled events and classes, and CAI chapters should plan to do the same.
Some suggestions may be to:
- provide hand sanitizer at events
- create signage to remind people to cover their cough and wash their hands
- encourage leaders and registrants to stay home if they are sick and perhaps offer a free recap of the course via video or an article
- consider a non-penalty cancellation if there is heightened risk in your area for those who are not comfortable attending
CAI will continue to monitor the developments closely.
For the public, Steps to Safeguard your HOA from Illnesses