During times of uncertainty, when you and your homeowners are both navigating new waters, it may seem like there is nothing your community association can do to help put people at ease. With swimming pools closed and clubhouse access restricted during the pandemic, there may not seem like much left for community associations to offer residents in the way of amenities… or is there? Coming from a community association attorney, there may be more resources at your disposal than you realize that can help ease your owners’ minds in difficult times.
While they may seem like small things, offering your homeowners a few treats and activities will help take their minds off the current situation. It may also contribute to a healthy, happier community during the pandemic.
Host Virtual Happy Hours
For many, one of the perks of being a member of a community association is having a built-in network of friends and peers to bond with over fun activities. Many community associations regularly organize social activities for their residents to both entertain their homeowners and strengthen the community through bonding initiatives. But, how can a Board do that when in-person gatherings are not an option?
Since shelter-in-place advisories went into effect, many friend groups and companies whose employees are working from home have implemented virtual happy hours to maintain bonding and keep everyone’s spirits lifted. Consider doing this with your residents. In lieu of community flyers since many people are staying indoors, the Board can send an email letting everyone know the community will be hosting a virtual happy hour – just don’t forget to BYOB! Homeowners can join via link and will enjoy getting to reconnect with some of their neighbors. Remember, some of your homeowners may be isolating alone and human interaction is incredibly important to maintain a healthy mindset.
Just like a virtual happy hour, there are plenty of activities that can be carried out through a video chat platform. Although, a community association attorney would caution the Board to be sure there is a “waiting room” or other approval process in place for the meeting organizer to prevent strangers from jumping into a community call.
Zoom Bingo or a wine and paint session with an instructor are great ways to stimulate the minds of your residents while making sure they maintain safe shelter-in-place practices. Get creative! Think of the different activities you would normally plan for the community and then figure out whether they can be translated into a virtual format – some won’t be conducive to video chat, but others will be, and residents are sure to love the change of pace.
Ordering Food Delivery Service to the Community
This option is a little out of the box and may require some outreach on the Board’s part, but your residents may appreciate a taste of normalcy if community volunteers help coordinate a meal delivery, like from a great local Italian restaurant. Many communities and restaurants are doing this already, partnering with one another to bring food to residents in a safe and healthy way. Unlike typical catering events, residents should be able to select their meals from a pre-determined menu the restaurant should provide and have them individually boxed. There should be options for everyone!
Your volunteers may want to reach out on social media or through the restaurant website to see what local restaurant you community may want to support and who is able deliver food to the community. Of course, health and sanitization practices must be followed, so definitely consult with a community association attorney if you are unsure the best route to implement a community food delivery service.
Listen to a Community Association Attorney and Take a Deep Breath – We’ll Be Just Fine!
Navigating the pandemic’s uncharted waters is unsettling for everyone, particularly so for community association Board members with most residents now home and with limited resources to help. Take a deep breath and consider adopting a new way to look at the resources you do have at your disposal. Homeowners will appreciate your willingness to improve the overall situation in unique ways.
If you are director of a homeowner or condominium association and have questions about how to properly implement new activities in your community or any other questions related to best practices during this time, please call us at (770) 863-8900 or go online at www.nowackhoward.com to schedule a consultation with a highly knowledgeable community association attorney.