Operating under a COVID-safe framework for Queensland owners and committees

To help community living properties understand what they should do to manage COVID-19, we have outlined all you need to know as Queensland enters the last step-down stage of restrictions. For committee members and owners, the last step-down phase, known as stage three, means continuing to maintain common property to ensure the safety of all those who come and go whilst also operating under a COVID-safe framework in Queensland.

A COVID-19 framework means body corporates, as an entity that owns, controls, or operates a restricted business activity or undertaking, should adhere to ongoing COVID-19 safety practices and plans that align with their communal and common property facilities on their property.

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A COVID framework means owners must adhere to ongoing safety practices.

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As a group, our focus has been and will continue to be providing committee members and owners with the support and resources to follow government recommendations and best practice safety procedures.

Committee members and owners could consider the following:
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Under a COVID framework, committees and owners must:

  • Always follow social distancing rules across all common property areas
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    • Keep 1.5 meters between people — applies to residents, workers, and visitors
    • In a space less than 200 square meters, there can be no more than 50 people — one person per two square meters
    • In larger spaces, there can be no more than 100 people — one person per four square meters
    • Committees know the social distancing capacities for their common areas.
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  • Open common property facilities that no longer have government restrictions in place. Committees are not allowed to restrict the use of assets or facilities unless authorised to do so via by-laws or the body corporate. Pools, gyms, and saunas are all allowed to reopen.
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  • Committees can make recommendations to the body corporate should they feel certain common property facilities are increasing the risk of COVID-19 for their community.
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  • The committee must keep contact information of all guests and staff who use any communal facilities on the property for tracing purposes for 56 days. Contact information includes name, address, mobile number, date and time the facility was used, and how long for. If requested, this information must be provided to public health officers. The information should be securely stored, not used for any other purpose, and deleted after the 56 days.
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  • Whether a body corporate requires a COVID Safe Checklist or a COVID Safe Plan depends on the facilities on the property. Your property may have to adhere to additional regulations and requirements. Particularly if your property has short-term letting or accommodation facilities, if you have a gym or a swimming pool.
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  • Proceed with annual general meetings and committee meetings. However, social distancing regulations must be adhered to. If restrictions can’t be met, alternatives such as electronic meetings should be held — see new legislation changes that support meeting alternatives and what must be undertaken by committee members. It’s important to note, those who are entitled to vote can’t be denied a right of attendance.

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Best practice COVID-safe framework tips for Queensland committees and owners:
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Committees should:
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  • Maintain increased cleaning and hygiene schedules around the property.
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  • Keep common property areas well signposted to reinforce and inform restrictions. This includes lifts, entertainment areas, foyers, in-door entertainment areas and recreational rooms.
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  • In common property areas that are deemed higher risk, such as pools, include signage that encourages users to not use facilities if feeling unwell, hygiene practices, and provide a risk disclaimer.
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  • Confirm and check that all common property facilities are allowed to be open as of the date of opening.
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  • Keep contact information of visitors and contractors. If this is done via soft copy, make sure pens are sanitised between uses.
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  • Make sure all contractors submit a Safe Work Method Statement which will now include additional processes for COVID-19 personal protective equipment and social distancing measures.
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  • If you need help with COVID-19 signs for your property, visit Safe Work Australia and the federal government’s COVID-19 resources page.
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  • When in doubt, ask you body corporate manager for advice or support.
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If you’d like to find out more on managing health & safety for our property, find out more about our Community Health & Safety services by clicking here. Our team is ready to assist you 24/7.