In light of an increased number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and an increase in the COVID-19 testing positivity rate in the City of Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced new guidelines for Chicago. These new guidelines are designed to reduce transmission of COVID-19 from sources that contact-tracing has identified as contributing to these increased metrics, and one of the new guidelines directly affects residential associations located within the City of Chicago. Specifically, residential property managers are now asked to limit guest entry to five guests per unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties. Mayor Lightfoot’s office explained that this means that, for buildings with a doorperson, the doorperson is asked to remind residents and their guests of the limitation. For buildings without a doorperson, the residential building should post signs notifying residents that no more than five guests are permitted per unit. The Mayor’s office has made it clear that this guideline is an “ask” meaning that residential buildings will not face citations for non-compliance, but associations should still take reasonable steps to comply with the guidelines.
These new guidelines go into effect at 12:01 a.m. this Friday, July 24, 2020. We recommend that, before that date, signs be posted in all lobbies – whether they have a doorperson or not – notifying residents that City of Chicago guidelines prohibit more than five guests per unit. While association doorstaff and management should be prepared to remind residents of this limitation, it is not for associations to directly enforce the restriction. Rather, if a resident complains about a large gathering within a unit, the complaining resident can be reminded that he or she is free to call the police. Further, for buildings with a doorperson, while entry should not be blocked when the occupancy limitation for a unit has been reached, the doorperson need not provide entry to more than five guests per unit. Rather, in such cases, the unit owner should be forced to admit the guests personally. Finally, while the new guidelines do not grant associations private rights of enforcement, associations can and should send reminders to residents who are discovered to have had more than five guests in his or her unit.
Our attorneys remain available to meet (via videoconference) or otherwise discuss the action that Boards can and should take with respect to association matters (meetings, elections, rule violations, etc.) during this unprecedented and difficult time. We will continue to keep you advised of new developments as they arise.
Chuck Keough (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Dawn Moody (email@example.com),
Gabriella Comstock (firstname.lastname@example.org)