covid-strata

COVID Guidance for Strata Residents

Guidance for strata residents on keeping safe during the COVID pandemic

Last updated: 25 February 2022

The covid situation in NSW is evolving. We will keep this page updated with the latest advice from the NSW government, as it relates to strata and community living.

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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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Moving through common areas

People living in residential buildings should take care when moving through common areas to reduce the risk of COVID-19.  

  • Clean your hands with sanitiser before and after touching commonly touched surfaces such as door handles, intercom buttons, rubbish bin lids, communal laundry facilities etc.  
  • Wear a mask in indoor common areas (this is no longer mandatory again from 25 February)
  • Maintain social distancing 
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing 
  • Avoid close contact with people unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms  
  • Avoid touching your face and avoid shaking hands with others. 

Visitors to your residence

You are not required to be fully vaccinated to have people visit your home or visit people at their home.

However, if you are visiting an aged care facility or disability home, there may be rules that apply to you.

Check with the operator of the facility.

What if someone in my apartment has been identified as having COVID-19?

If someone has been identified as COVID positive, they need to self-isolate within their lot. This means someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, cannot access any common areas until they have been cleared of the virus. Accessing common property while on isolation orders are in breach of the Public Health Act and a breach of by-laws (creating a hazard on common property/use the common property in a way that interferes unreasonably with others in the scheme using and enjoying it).  

What about the other people in my apartment?

Anyone living with a person identified as COVID positive is considered a close contact. Self-isolation periods and testing requirements differ for close contacts based on their exposure and vaccination status. You may need to follow different advice if you are a household contact or another type of close contact. Go to health.nsw.gov.au for more information on what to do if you are a close contact. 

What happens if I don’t follow self-isolation rules?

Not following self-isolation guidelines puts family, friends and the community at risk. It is also a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties. For individuals, the maximum penalty is $11,000, 6 months in prison, or both with a further $5,500 fine for each day the offence continues. 

High Covid-19 risk premises

On Sunday 6 September the Minister for Health gazetted updated Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021. The Order directs a person diagnosed with Covid-19 and close contacts to isolate inside their home. The updated Order includes additional powers for the Minister, health practitioners and Police in order to control the transmission of Covid-19 amongst apartment residents.

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 with 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.

If your apartment block is declared a High Covid-19 Risk Premises that declaration will be made on the Health Website. The effect of the declaration is that it confines residents to their home, subject to an emergency or instructions of an authorised medical officer or Commissioner of Police. If you are away from your apartment you must return to your residence immediately becoming aware 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. We assume this includes the delivery of food and volunteers or workers providing support to the residents in the block.

A resident or a person involved in the management of the building MUST provide information to the Police that will assist in the identification of residents and visitors (onsite) if directed to do so. This will normally fall to the Secretary of the Strata Committee, the Chair or the Strata Manager.

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. 

Disposing of waste

Waste items from people in isolation with suspected or confirmed COVID, should be placed in the red-lidded rubbish bin.  

As there is no state-issued guidance to date for people living in strata on how to dispose of waste appropriately without risking further infection, we recommend the following common-sense approach to removal of garbage:  

If you have been identified as COVID positive, or a close contact, and have been requested to self-isolate, we recommend that you: 

  • Dispose of all used personal care items such as tissues, disposable masks, gloves in a rubbish bin that’s lined with a plastic bag.  
  • When the bin is three-quarters full, tie off the plastic bag to prevent spillage of the contents. Avoid touching the inside of the bag.  
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if your hands and double-bag the rubbish. Use disposable gloves to move the rubbish to a location for pick up.  
  • Contact your building manager, or a strata committee representative to discuss the proper arrangements for disposal of your rubbish.  

 

Useful documents

NSW Health fact sheet for confirmed COVID‑19 cases

NSW Health common questions about the rules 

NSW Health COVID-19 self-isolation guideline

NSW Health Hygiene at Home

Visit our legislation page for the latest public health orders

If you are a committee member, visit our Guidance for Committee Members page

Visit our COVID financial support page for links to what’s available in NSW

NSW Health Greater Sydney restrictions

NSW Health Local government areas of concern restrictions

NSW Health regional and rural restrictions restrictions

NSW Health Mental Health Support

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