On March 20, 2020, Gov. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home Executive Order (2020-10) for all residents of Illinois. The purpose of the Executive Order is to try to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
This article will highlight those provisions of the Executive Order that impact operations of condominium and common interest community associations. Many of the terms are highly technical and interrelated, but we will attempt to address them as clearly as possible.
By way of introduction, the Executive Order effectively divides State residents into two categories: those who are required to stay at home and those who must be allowed to leave their home because they provide “Essential Activities” and/or operate “Essential Business and Operations”. Even for those residents required to stay at home, they may still leave their homes to exercise, pick up groceries, to fill their car with gas, and visit medical clinics and hospitals as may be required. Such activities are to be undertaken while practicing social distancing that places a minimum of six (6) feet between individuals at all times.
The balance of this letter is addressed to the second category of residents, namely, those engage in “Essential Activities and/or “Essential Businesses and Operations.” Specifically, individuals employed in Essential Business and Operations may leave their residences to perform their “Essential Activities”, defined somewhat circuitously in the Order as performing work that provides essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations, which include Essential Infrastructure or to otherwise carry out activities permitted in the Executive Order. “Essential Infrastructure”, in turn, includes building management and maintenance and the term Essential Infrastructure is intended to be construed broadly to avoid any impact to Essential Infrastructure.
What are Examples of “Essential Business and Operations”, Essential Infrastructure Jobs and Critical Trades that Bear on Association Management?
“Essential Business and Operations” means, among other items, Essential Infrastructure, and Critical Trades. Such Critical Trades include Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including, but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC contractors, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations.
It also includes laundry facilities, which can remain open. As an aside, Associations with on-site laundry facilities should include laundry facilities as areas that are subject to heightened cleaning and disinfection unless such services are otherwise provided by the service provider.
What are Examples of Essential Services?
The Executive Order describes Essential Services as those that provide health care, food, medicine and other necessary services or products (grocery and home essentials, gas stations, fire and police stations, public transportation, and public benefits—like garbage pick-up). Nonessential services are described as most retail, recreation, and entertainment businesses.
How Does this Affect Association Management Staff?
From an Association perspective, the Executive Order should permit Association/management staff to leave home to perform building management and maintenance and other services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of the condominium/common interest community association. This should include, for example, management/office, engineering, janitorial, garage, valet, door staff/personnel, and the like.
Many associations were worried that Board members or unit owners would have to step up and undertake these activities; that is absolutely not the case. The Executive Order should also permit an Association’s contractors to continue with maintenance, repair and replacement projects that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operations of the residences. In-Unit projects performed by an Owner’s contractor should also be permitted within a Unit, to the extent that the projects are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operations of the residence. Any contractors working at the building should be following social distancing requirements. Moving and relocation services are also permitted critical trades under the Executive Order.
Even those who are performing “Essential Businesses and Operations” must — to the greatest extent feasible — comply with Social Distancing Requirements. These include maintaining a distance of at least six (6) feet from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer (which must be provided), covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regular cleaning of high touch services, and not shaking hands.
Since the Executive Order prohibits any gathering of more than ten people, the Association needs to consider how to avoid gatherings of this size when planning Association events and operating the Association’s common facilities, including the congregation of numerous residents when mail is delivered. This can be addressed in greater detail with those associations with larger resident populations.
The order is in effect from 5:00 p.m. Saturday, March 21, 2020 until Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
If KSN can answer any legal questions for or assist your Board, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Please call 855-537-0500 or visit www.ksnlaw.com. Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. We have four office locations, serving hundreds of clients and thousands of communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Our attorneys are also licensed in Arizona, Florida, and Missouri.
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