The SCA (NSW), Board has decided on several escalated responses to help protect members and consumers in strata during the escalating COVID-19 outbreak.
The temporary measures recommended to be implemented are unprecedented, however the current and rapidly escalating environment requires clear and consistent messaging to promote calm, orderly and business as usual practices as much as practical.
The current situation requires strong leadership and bold decisions to be made to protect members, stakeholders and consumers to do your part to prevent further spread of this virus in the community.
A recent webinar addressing the most relevant questions impacting SCA(NSW) members can be accessed via the following link.
MEETINGS AND FACE TO FACE INTERACTIONS:
Attendance at face to face meetings should be temporarily restricted for your employees.
Evidence from well managed overseas experience has shown us that social distancing is the key strategy to reduce the spread of Covid-19. We desperately need to flatten the curve to ensure our hospitals can cope with the intake of infections whilst still maintaining services for all other medical emergencies. Whilst our recommendations may not yet be mandatory legal obligations, we feel it is our moral obligation to do our part to flatten the curve. We therefore recommend the following measures be implemented immediately.
Face to face meetings for your employees should be restricted. This restriction is advised to take effect as soon as possible, where practical. Many member businesses have introduced this precaution and we encourage all members to introduce this level of escalated action.
You may decide to continue to meet if your building and owners wish to do so, however we encourage you to discuss alternative methods of meetings including online, phone, skype (or equivalent), pre-polling, proxies or postponement. In addition, it may be prudent to defer noncritical decision making until such time as more conventional meeting attendance can be reinstated.
Our strata law members are still available and ready to assist with navigating these uncertainties. We recommend you contact your trusted legal advisors, as the circumstances of applicability and action will vary from scheme to scheme.
Whilst acknowledging the obvious impact of strata communities and management companies these circumstances present opportunities to move meetings online and to be conducted by other means as contemplated in the 2015 strata law changes. It also highlights the urgency of prioritising the Community Land Management Act review to ensure laws are contemporised in line with the strata act. Innovation will form part of our industry response.
DAY TO DAY BUSINESS:
Employees Working from Home
It is recommended that members consider if non-customer facing employees can work from home. This will be dependent on your business, online capability and customer expectations.
Employees still working in the office
Customer facing employees who remain in offices should practice social distancing until the advice from Government and Health Authorities changes.
On-site office visits
We strongly urge you to consider implementing a soft ban on all visits to your offices temporarily. For management companies, attempt to limit visits to strata searches only, understanding the importance of this function for the sale of properties but practice social distancing and risk management when in the office.
Other functions such as key and access device management can be done over the phone, utilising express mail services and other measures which do not require access into the office or limited physical contact.
On-site building, facilities managers and service providers
We encourage all on-site service providers to consider options for employees and introduce preventive measure where possible.
WHAT WE’RE DOING:
SCA (NSW) continues to be in close and daily contact with the NSW Department of Fair Trading working through the considerable implications for compliance, timeframes, scheme management and safety as a result of the potential ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 virus. We must stress that these are fluid discussions and whilst we will continue to provide factual advice from Government, several uncertainties remain which could result in updated advice. There could be considerable impacts moving forward. Rest assured that we have ongoing dialogue and are raising concerns to provide as much clarity as possible.
The situation remains fluid and further recommendations may have to be made with short or little notice in line with Government and Health Authority advice.
Our priority is always the health and safety of our members and consumers, and we will continue to keep you updated.
Now is the time to implement plans for COVID-19 management. Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference. Action now will help protect your employees and your business.
SCA (NSW) has curated a selection of key resources on an information page on the SCA (NSW) website to assist you to navigate the evolving situation that we will continue to update and monitor as further information comes to hand. Please also find links to relevant sites with the latest information: