The recent upsurge in number of coronavirus cases has put high-rises and condominiums across the country on a state of high alert. Considering the large number of people who stay together within a fixed perimeter, residential societies are walking the extra mile to keep a hawk’s eye on possible sources of infection to keep the disease under control.
From sanitizing floors to common areas, from shutting down shared common facilities including gymnasiums, swimming pools, club houses and auditoriums to stepping up temperature screening at entry gates and even regulating the entry of outsiders, societies are busy drawing up SOPs to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
What then are the different measures being adopted by the housing societies? Here’s a ground check.
For premium condominiums under the DLF banner including DLF Aralias and DLF Magnolias in Gurugram, attention is being paid to round the clock maintenance of COVID-19 protocols. All visitors entering the complexes are subjected to thermal screening and mandatory Aarogya Setu app status check.
“We have been disinfecting the high touch points inside the tower lobbies and elevators (with special attention to elevator call buttons, panels, grab bar, Lobby Attendant Desk and door handles) with disinfectant spray. Similarly, strict sanitization protocols are being followed at all the Club outlets,” Girish Sehgal, Senior Vice President heading Super Luxury Operations told NewsMobile.
There is also a dedicated housekeeping person assigned for the towers with COVID-19 positive cases during peak movement hours from 8 am to 10 pm to sanitize the elevators and high touch points as above after every use as an additional safety measure.
“Essential deliveries and couriers are received at the service gate and after thorough sanitization, our team carries out the deliveries to the tower lobbies. Lobby assistant of the respective towers coordinates pick up from the lobbies by the resident or domestic help. All domestic staff, drivers and labour entering the complex have to go through thermal screening at the service gate and sanitize their hands before they are permitted entry. At some of our condominiums we have introduced Facial Recognition based entry has to hasten the process, and make it paper less and reduced contact,” Sehgal explained.
Driver’s area is closed and drivers are allowed to either wait in their cars in the basement as a precautionary measure.
“Government protocol is strictly followed for a COVID-19 positive case in the condominium.
All the front line team members are protected with proper PPE kits including face shields. Our condominiums have tied up with highly reputed healthcare providers with on site support team available to provide all medical support to the residents,” Sehgal added.
Proactive COVID-19 tests are being conducted bi-monthly for the residents and domestic staff to ensure their wellbeing. On site vaccination program for the eligible residents, domestic staff and the employees have been done.
COVID-19 is the top focus at The Close North in Nirvana Country in Gurugram as well. Rajneesh Gupta, Secretary TCN Apartment Owners Association, said that there has been a fresh surge of cases in the society as well with around 10-15 members testing positive for COVID-19 recently.
Following this, sanitization frequency has been stepped up more rigorously and residents are being constantly sensitized to adhere to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
“For the people who are testing positive and are placed under home quarantine, we are helping them out with their requirements like medical help and food, through the help of other residents,” he said.
“We have also created a COVID-19 Taskforce, who is working as our eyes and nose, along with guards and other members are making sure that there are no social gatherings, residents are informing us about their travel and are following safety guidelines,” he added.
The IFS New Complex Gurgaon too is on a state of alert.
Retired Ambassador Basant Gupta, President of IFS New Complex Gurgaon, said that apart from the usual precautionary measures, they are holding regular sensitization programs for all staff working inside the premises.
They are also making regular announcements and putting up posters generate awareness have been put up at all common areas. They have also installed a hand wash facility, as well as sanitizers are placed at the entrance reception area.
“We constantly sanitize the common areas and elevators, handrails, and equipment in the children’s play area on a 2 hourly basis. We have also encouraged residents to stay at home, especially senior citizens, as most of them are retired and are at high risk,” he told NewsMobile.
“We ensure that the residents avoid conducting festivals, meetings get-together inside the apartment community. Private functions are also being discouraged. We do not allow any couriers or parcel delivery inside the society, residents have to pick them from outside the society gate,” Basant said.
At the Monsoon Breeze society in Gurugram, a Rs 500 fine is being imposed on anyone found not wearing the mask. Security officers are making regular announcements and entry of residents inside commercial shops within the society has been stopped and social distancing norms are being strictly adhered to. Testing camps are also being organised within the society.
Elsewhere in the Delhi-NCR region too, housing societies are in close touch with district administration and adhering to mandated COVID-19 protocol.
ATS Village in Noida is focusing on stepping up sensitisation of residents and support staff to ensure better compliance of established COVID-19 protocol. Society Board Member Nikhat Tyagi said they are abiding by all the guidelines provided by the government and directives issued by the District Magistrate’s office in this regard.
“We are sensitizing our residents on the use of common amenities and movement in common areas. We are taking care of best-established practices and norms that are being followed in all gated communities and condors – like sensitizing our incoming staff, security, and keeping the mask on and maintaining social distancing at all times,” Nikhat said.
ATS Village is also discouraging social gatherings and has advised residents to make their personal and professional engagements online as far as it is possible. “In line with government guidelines, we have also reiterated that as a community norm in case any of the residents is travelling, then they need to inform the estate manager, also undergo the test for everyone’s safety,” Nikhat added.
In Exotica Fresco in Noida‘s Sector 137, COVID-19 surveillance is being accorded top priority.
Exotica Fresco Apartment Owners Association Treasurer Surojit Dasgupta said, “The AOA team is monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely. We have coordinated with Noida Authority for carrying out the sanitization drive of Covid-19 impacted towers in the society and are also in constant touch with the Noida authority concerned department for future requirements. In the house sanitization drive of COVID-19 impacted towers and other common areas of the society through the maintenance team is also being carried out.”
Mandatory preventive security checks are being conducted at the main entry gate where the guards are checking the temperature of all visitors and residents entering the society at all times.
“Hand sanitizers are also provided at the main gate and all towers so that people can sanitize their hands frequently. Building awareness with all residents to wear masks and maintain social distance whenever they step out of the house. Posters for the same are being put in all towers,” Dasgupta said.
In the national capital of Delhi, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) too have stepped up focus on precautionary measures. Former Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee, who is the President of Sarvodaya Enclave RWA in Delhi expressed concern over the fact that people in Delhi have adopted a very casual approach with respect to COVID-19.
“People have taken a casual approach and are not taking precautionary measures seriously. Which is why we are constantly working on spreading awareness among shopkeepers and residents and urging them to not become complacent as coronavirus pandemic is not over yet. We have changed our timings also, concerning the new night curfew guidelines. We are ensuring that the common areas are being regularly sanitized. We do not allow street vendors inside the society. We have been using thermal checking for residents and staff members,” she said.
Besides this, the RWA is making provision for people who test positive to stay at nearest community centres and meals and necessary items are being provided to them.
“In few cases where people were under home quarantine, we informed MCD to pick their garbage separately and not mix it with the garbage of the other people, to avoid the spread. We are constantly in touch with all residents and encouraging them to get themselves tested if they observe any symptoms,” she added.
In the eastern part of the country at Diamond City West in Kolkata, all bookings for community halls within the complex have been cancelled. Swimming pool, gymnasium, basketball court, tennis court, senior citizens room, card room, yoga room and games room have been temporarily shut.
In multiple complexes across the country, any resident who has travelled by flight is now mandated to disclose at the security gate. This societies say helps in keeping a better watch on the ground situation in case the infection spreads.