This afternoon, to stop the spread of COVID-19, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a shelter-in-place order for Illinois. Under this order, Illinois residents are to self-isolate in their residences from 5 p.m., Saturday, March 21, 2020 to the end of the day on April 7, 2020. Individuals should only leave their residences for essential purposes, which include obtaining groceries, prescriptions and gas, among others. In addition, individuals defined with essential jobs are also able to leave their residences to work.
This shelter-in-place order will impact condominium and community associations – as well as those individuals and companies who provide services to these associations. As noted in previous updates, no in-person meetings, be it board meetings or annual meetings, should be scheduled for the foreseeable future. To the extent meetings need to be called – so essential business can be conducted, meetings should be done via conference call or video conferencing, with owners being given the opportunity to “attend” the meeting through those technological means.
Next, boards and management should be in contact to determine what limitations will be in place during this time of shelter-in-place. Understandably, accommodations will need to be made. As property management plays an essential role, especially within condominium associations, services will likely continue. However, the manager may need to perform the services from home and may not be as readily available, due to addressing issues related to this shelter-in-place order and COVID-19.
Owners should be reminded to reach out to management only by email and/or telephone and that during these unique times non-urgent matters may be put on hold until normal business can resume. In addition, practices, such as hand-delivering management reports or checks for signature to the board will need to temporarily discontinue. It is important that all parties exercise additional patience as we attempt to function in this unprecedented situation.
While this order is in place, association services will be limited to essential services. The association can and should continue to perform services and address work orders, which are necessary to the safety, sanitation and essential operation of the association. Therefore, garbage should continue to be removed from the property, common areas should continue to be cleaned and emergency maintenance issues should be addressed. The processing and completion of routine work orders (i.e. those not necessary to address safety, sanitation or the essential use of the property) should be deferred until the shelter-in-place order has expired. What may be essential to one association may not be essential to another, based upon facts and circumstances. Further, what may be essential today may not be essential tomorrow, based upon facts and circumstances. Therefore, if you have questions regarding which services should be provided during this time, we can assist in answering those questions.
For those associations who have union employees, it is very important you follow the guidelines issued by the union, specifically as to how it defines “essential personnel.” It is reasonable for the association to rely on the union’s interpretation.
While the shelter-in-place order is very serious, we do not believe that violation of this order is an association matter. The association is not the police and is not charged with the enforcement of this order. Therefore, if there are any questions, concerns or complaints regarding a potential violation of this order by residents within your association, they should be appropriately directed to the law enforcement, not the association board or management.
The attorneys at Keough and Moody remain readily available and accessible to assist with its clients’ legal-related needs during this time, albeit remotely. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to helping our clients address issues during this unprecedented time. Please do not hesitate to contact Chuck Keough (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dawn Moody (email@example.com) or Gabriella Comstock (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.