covid-strata

COVID Guidance for Committee Members

Reducing the Spread in Strata 

With roughly fifteen per cent (more than 1 million people) of NSW’s population living in apartments and sharing entries, lifts, garbage areas, air conditioning and the likes, the strata community must take particular caution to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID situation in NSW is constantly evolving. We will update this page with any changes to the below guidelines and any legislation changes that impact strata and community schemes.

Last updated: 25 February 2022

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Update: 25 February 2022

The requirements for mask-wearing has changed. Masks are only required for certain high-risk settings, such as travel and hospitals and are still encouraged for indoor settings where you cannot maintain a safe distance from others and for customer-facing retail staff.

From the beginning of 25 February 2022, all people in NSW over the age of 12 are required to wear a face mask:

  • in airports
  • in public hospitals or private health facilities
  • in residential care facilities or hostels
  • in indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people
  • on public transport and public transport waiting areas (including in taxis and rideshare services)
  • on a domestic commercial aircraft (including when the aircraft is flying above NSW).

From Monday 28 February, school staff and students are no longer required to wear masks in NSW schools.

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COVID Guidance for Strata Committee Members 

COVID Advice from NSW Health for multi-dwelling units

NSW Health has updated their best practice public health advice for building managers, strata managers and strata committees to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents.

The COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist for Multi-Unit Dwellings describes how current Public Health Orders apply to residential buildings in different areas. It can also be used as a common sense guide for communities unaffected by Orders to manage their common property.

COVID plans

Strata committees should devise a COVID plan to prevent the spread of the virus within their community. If multiple people in an apartment building have been identified as covid positive, the building may need to be temporarily evacuated to disinfect shared living spaces so it’s important committees can respond to owners about the correct procedure to follow.

Strata roll

The owners corporation has a legal obligation to keep the strata roll updated. Strata committees should ensure the contact details of owners, or their tenant’s details are known to, and up to date on the strata roll to facilitate effective and immediate communication, and assist NSW Health for contact tracing if required. 

High Covid-19 risk premises

An apartment building may be declared to be a “high Covid-19 risk premises” if at least one dwelling houses a person diagnosed with Covid-19 or a person who is a close contact of a positive case. The Ministerial declaration is for a maximum period of 14 days but can be re-issued. This could lead to lockdowns longer than 14 days if transmission occurs and more cases are detected, as has already happened in several buildings. The orders apply to all residents and visitors at the time of the declaration. No one is to enter the building unless permitted. The Police and Health Practitioners will enter to provide medical care, testing and vaccination. A person may also enter at the direction of the Police.

NSW Govt communication toolkit for strata

The NSW Govt has released a communication toolkit for strata.

Download the toolkit: NSW Govt Communication Toolkit for Strata Bodies and Building Managers (ppt)

The wearing of masks

All people over the age of 12 must wear a face mask:

  • in indoor areas (e.g. while shopping, when at a library)
  • in indoor areas of common property of apartment buildings
  • at a public transport waiting area
  • while on public transport (including in taxis and rideshare services)
  • if you are working at a hospitality venue and dealing directly with members of the public
  • on an aircraft when the aircraft is flying above NSW and in the airport.

Exemptions are available. Learn more about face mask rules.

Masks are strongly encouraged in settings where you cannot physically distance.

Mask exemptions

The NSW Government signed off on a new Public Health Order and as of 23 July. If you cannot wear a face mask because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, you must carry;

  • A medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner or a registered NDIS practitioner or a statutory declaration.
  • Proof of exemption and identity

If you are in a situation where masks are mandatory, a regulatory officer can ask you to confirm the lawful reason you are not wearing a face mask.

If asked by NSW Police, you must show them proof of exemption or your medical certificate. You must also carry and produce evidence of your name and address to a police officer if requested.

A statutory declaration will require you to identify your disability, physical or mental health illness or condition and declare:

  • you have a physical or mental health illness or condition or disability and
  • the physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability makes wearing a fitted face-covering unsuitable.

Officers will issue a penalty notice if you clearly refuse to wear a mask without a lawful reason.

QR Codes

As of 24 December, COVID-19 Safe QR check-ins are required at many premises again including retail, F&B premises, pubs, gyms, residential care facilities and hospitals. In relation to strata, QR codes are not mandatory for residential strata buildings, however mixed-use or commercial premises, and common property facilities such as gyms may require QR Codes to be reinstated. Check the rules on NSW health

Occupiers of premises are required to continue to take reasonable steps to ensure people can check-in or provide their contact details when they enter these premises.

If you are entering a premises where check-in is required, you must:

  • check in with the Service NSW app
  • provide your details to the occupier of the premises.

For more information on QR codes, visit nsw.gov.au

Waste management and cleaning services

Regular cleaning followed by disinfecting common areas in apartment buildings is the best prevention to stop the spread of COVID. Cleaning doesn’t kill germs so it’s imperative that cleaning is followed by routine disinfecting.  

Read the Department of Health’s Guidance for COVID cleaning 

Download NSW Health Guidelines on Cleaning Surfaces

Committees should provide their cleaning companies with an updated scope of works detailing any additional cleaning and disinfecting requirements, itemising frequently touched surface areas that require routine disinfecting such as light switches, garbage areas, door handles, intercom buttons, service room doors, lifts, lift buttons, letterboxes, railings, entry points from the car park, lobby, common area facilities such as toilets, pools, gyms etc.) 

Renovations, repairs, maintenance and cleaning rules

The rules for carrying out renovations, repairs, maintenance and cleaning has changed. COVID-safe QR check ins are only required for high risk premises such as pubs, nightclubs, gyms, places of worship, hospitals and aged care. Density limits no longer apply to most situations.

Construction sites

The rules for construction sites has changed, from 15 December, anyone can enter a construction site.

  • You are not required to be fully vaccinated or carry vaccination evidence.
  • COVID-19 Safe Check-in is not required.
  • Face masks are not required.
  • Optional COVID-19 Safety Plans are available to help best keep a safe environment for staff and customers.

Fire inspections

Owners corporations have a legal obligation to ensure their annual fire safety inspection is carried out. If a person has COVID-19, a fire safety inspection of their lot should be deferred until the resident has obtained medical clearance. We recommend planning your fire safety inspections ahead of time to ensure there is adequate time in case there is a delay in obtaining access to some units.   

Electronic voting and meeting

Owners corporations and community land associations are able to validly meet and vote electronically without having previously adopted a resolution in this regard. The existing regulations on executing documents without the common seal and serving notice of meetings by email have been retained.

These changes have been made through two new COVID-19 regulations:

These regulations allow owners corporations and community land associations to:

  • deliver certain documents by email
  • meet and vote electronically or in other ways without needing to pass a resolution to authorise the means of voting
  • validly execute documents without affixing the common seal of the owners corporation or association.

The bridging measures have been extended to 31 May 2022 until the NSW Government legislates permanent solutions in 2022.

Maintaining harmony in your strata scheme

Living in an apartment means that we are all a lot closer and things like noises and smells have a greater impact. Our mental health can also be put to the test with added stresses such as balancing working from home with homeschooling, a business closure, loss of income, or perhaps you’re a shift worker who is struggling to sleep due to the increase of noise.

For these reasons, it’s never been more important to be mindful of your behaviours and their impact on your neighbour as everyone has a right to the peaceful enjoyment of one’s home and we have to work together to achieve this. We have created a video called Strata Harmony, which can be found on our homepage. The video provides some guidance on maintaining harmony. 

Common property facilities 

Shared facilities like BBQ areas, pools and gyms are now open to all residents regardless of their vaccination status. QR codes are still mandatory for high risk premises such as gyms.

Committee COVID Checklist

  • Do cleaners have an updated scope of works to allow for covid preventative cleaning and disinfecting? 
  • Are there mandatory mask posters located on the entries of the building? 
  • Are common property facilities closed? Do they have a visible closed sign on the entries? 
  • Are there hand sanitiser dispensers located in the lobbies? 
  • Do we have a procedure in place for the collection of rubbish for self-isolating units? or if the building has to go into lockdown? 
  • Do we have enough in the administrative fund to cover an increase in utility bills and required maintenance costs? 
  • Is the strata roll up to date? If not, how can we encourage residents to provide their details to facilitate communication?  
  • Have we decided, by way of resolution, on our status for payment plans and/or waiving of interest for overdue levy contributions? 
  • What scheduled works should go ahead and what should be deferred? 
  • Is there a large portion of non-English speaking residents in our building? Do we need to translate important notices? 
  • Do we have a plan in place if our building needs to be evacuated for deep cleaning?  

Useful documents

NSW Govt Communication Toolkit for Strata Bodies and Building Managers (pptx)

NSW COVID Financial Support for Individuals and Businesses

NSW Health on Residential Hygiene

Wear a Mask Poster in 10 Languages

NSW Fair Trading – COVID and Strata & Community Schemes Guidelines

NSW Fair Trading support package for tenants and landlords

NSW Health Vaccination Advice 

NSW Govt – Current cases and restrictions

Visit our legislation page for the latest Public Health Orders

Visit our Guidance for Strata Residents page for more info

Visit our COVID financial assistance page

NSW Health Mental Health Support

NSW Health Resources

NSW Health Factsheets

NSW Health Translated Resources

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