The Chicago Department of Public Health has provided guidance for multifamily residential buildings. This version was released on 04/01/2020. It may be updated with new guidance. Please visit to find the latest version.




Under Governor Pritzker’s March 20 Stay at Home Executive Order, building management and maintenance is an
essential service and may continue. Residents should be staying at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of
illness, but may continue to travel to seek essential services, to work if they are an essential employee or to have inhome services or food deliveries. Landlords and building management should take steps to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago.

This document provides guidance for multifamily residential buildings. If your building is a senior living facility, assisted living facility or other congregate setting for vulnerable populations, you should refer to CDPH’s guidance for congregate settings.

What are the specific safety measures building owners and managers should follow to prevent COVID-19
transmission among residents and employees?

Perform routine environmental cleaning:

  • Make sure that common areas such as lobbies, elevators, laundry rooms and stairwells are frequently
    cleaned and disinfected.
  • Clean and disinfect daily all frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, stairway railings, elevator
    buttons, reception desks, push plates and laundry room equipment.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products
    that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available at Follow the
    manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method
    and contact time, etc.).

Implement policies and practices for social distancing:

  • Increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and residents (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters). Building staff and occupants should maintain social distancing when getting packages or mail,
    and when entering or exiting the building.

    • In a large building where packages may be left in the lobby or with front desk staff, building staff may
      consider assisting building occupants by dropping deliveries outside of their door.
    • Some delivery services (for example, Uber Eats, FreshDirect, Amazon) also have a section for
      “special instructions” where individuals can enter more information and requests, for example, that
      packages be delivered to the door, or to text/call and leave packages at the door in an effort to
      minimize person-to-person contact and touching of surfaces.
  • Postpone non-urgent maintenance or showings. Any staff or other people entering a unit should wash their
    hands, maintain social distancing and clean and disinfect work areas afterwards.
  • Close or limit access to common areas such as gyms, party rooms, lounges, and swimming pools as these are
    areas where it may become difficult to maintain social distancing.

    • Residents can continue to use shared laundry rooms. If the room is small, building management should
      consider posting signage and limiting the number of people using the laundry room at the same time to
      ensure social distancing.
  • Limit the number of people getting into elevators at the same time to avoid crowding. People should consider
    only riding the elevator with members of their own household, taking the stairs, or waiting for the next elevator.


Promote enhanced respiratory and hand hygiene:

  • Make sure that all handwashing sinks in the common areas have clean running water, soap and paper
    towels at all times. Building staff and others entering and leaving should wash their hands often with soap
    and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after cleaning. They should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    if soap and water are not available.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers, tissues and no-touch receptacles in common areas (for example,
    lobby, bathrooms, laundry rooms, gyms and playrooms) to encourage hand hygiene among building
  • Place signs that encourage cough and sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene, and staying home when sick in entrances
    and other common areas as appropriate.

What are the recommended procedures if a resident is sick or tests positive for COVID19?

It is important to note that there is community-wide transmission of COVID-19 in Chicago. This means the risk of contracting COVID-19 is no longer only tied to high-risk travel or potential exposures at school or work. All Chicago
residents should stay home as much as possible, consider themselves possibly exposed, and self- monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing). Residents are not required to self-report to building management if they are sick or test positive for COVID-19. The most effective measures building owners and managers can take to prepare for possible exposure and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among residents and employees are social distancing and routine environmental cleaning.

  • The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) will not notify building owners or occupants of residents
    testing positive for COVID-19 and management does not need to notify CDPH of positive residents.
  • Landlords and building management do not need to notify other occupants if a building resident is sick with
    COVID-19. With widespread community transmission, many people will get sick and recover at home.
  • Most people with COVID-19 will have mild illness and won’t need to be hospitalized. They should stay home and
    away from others. See CDPH’s recommended precautions for individuals who are sick or diagnosed with COVID19.
  • If an ill building occupant needs emergency assistance, call 911.


What are the recommended procedures if an employee is sick or tests positive for COVID-19?

  • Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e. cough, difficulty breathing) upon arrival to work or become sick
    during the day should be separated from other employees, residents, and visitors and sent home immediately.
  • Employees who are sick should stay home and not return to work until:
    • at least 7 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared; and,
    • at least 3 days (72 hours) have passed their fever has resolved (i.e. no fever without the use of feverreducing medications) and their other symptoms have improved.
    • For example, if you have a fever and coughing for 4 days, you need to stay home 3 more days with no
      fever for a total of 7 days. Or, if you have a fever and coughing for 5 days, you need to stay home 3 more
      days with no fever for a total of 8 days.
  • Employees who are sick must follow CDPH-recommended steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Sick
    employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or
    shoulder if no tissue is available), throw out the tissue, and wash their hands or use an alcohol based hand
    sanitizer.Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days and monitor their symptoms. They should notify their supervisor and refer to CDPH’s recommended precautions for exposed individuals.
  • Management should not require test results or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with
    acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical
    facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection:
    • Inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain
      confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fellow employees should
      then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or difficulty breathing).
    • Direct close contacts of the employee to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days. Refer them to
      this CDPH FAQ on what to do if you have been exposed. Do not require close contacts to have negative
      test results prior to returning to work.
    • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have
      been in the building. Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
    • Ensure staffs’ privacy to help prevent discrimination.
    • Refer employees in need of mental health support to the NAMI Chicago helpline at 833-NAMI-CHI (833-
      626-4244) for a listening ear, mental health information or referrals.


What if repairs are needed in a specific unit (for example, plumbing, maintenance)?

  • Cancel or postpone non-urgent repairs.
  • Before entering a unit, ask the occupants if they are sick. If they are sick, reschedule or take special
  • Building occupant should maintain social distancing while the work is being done, and clean and disinfect
    work areas afterwards.
  • Building staff should clean their hands thoroughly before entering the unit and after they leave.


Are there different procedures for common areas versus the apartments when a tenant turns over?

Building staff should follow standard cleaning procedures as outlined above. For more information see CDC’s Interim Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and Disinfection of Households.

More Information for Landlords and Renters:

  • The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has suspended all court ordered evictions.
  • Call the Chicago Rents Right Hotline at 312-742-RENT for information and assistance related to the obligations and rights of renters and property owners.
  • Please see Guidance for Businesses and Employers for more detailed information about maintaining a
    safe environment, preventing the spread of disease and preparing for potential workplace exposure.


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