How P.E.I. apartment buildings are keeping tenants apart

Some P.E.I. apartment building owners say they've taken measures to ensure their tenants respect physical distancing rules and don't get too close to one another. 

Building owners closing common spaces, restricting laundry room access in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Killam Properties says its buildings have been 'very quiet' since it took new measures to ensure tenants stay away from one another, and respect physical distancing rules. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Some P.E.I. apartment building owners say they've taken measures to ensure their tenants respect physical distancing rules and don't get too close to one another. 

Mark Kenney, the president of CAPREIT — which rents out 1,000 apartment units in 15 buildings across P.E.I. — said there are obstacles to overcome, particularly in buildings with dozens of tenants and several common areas.

"The challenge in apartment buildings is they're small communities that are quite close together," said Kenney.

"So for us, it's how to educate and try to manage our community members, in such a way that they don't put themselves or neighbours at risk."

Kenney said all common space except laundry rooms in CAPREIT's apartment buildings have been closed off.

Mark Kenney, president of CAPREIT, says his company's taken steps to ensure tenants 'don't put themselves or neighbours at risk.' (Submitted by CAPREIT)

No more than four people are allowed in laundry rooms at one time and there's a maximum of two people allowed in elevators.

Kenney said there are also signs around the buildings reminding tenants to stay at least two metres apart at all times. 

"And we've doubled our cleaning hours, to make sure that our lobbies, our laundry rooms, our elevators, our common areas, are cleaned up multiple times a day," Kenney said. 

No visitors unless 'absolutely necessary'

Killam Properties, which rents out 1,100 units in 21 buildings on P.E.I., has taken similar steps. 

Dan Sampson, the company's director of property management, said one of the aims is to limit traffic throughout the buildings so those who have to leave can have their space. 

"We're also discouraging anybody visiting the building unless it absolutely necessary," said Sampson.

"We have signage posted on the doors of all of our buildings advising people not to visit tenants unless it's absolutely necessary for a health reason, or they have an elderly parent that needs some assistance."

No positive cases 

Both Killam and CAPREIT said the measures appear to be working. 

"The buildings have been very quiet," said Sampson. 

Both companies said to date, there haven't been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their tenants on P.E.I. that they are aware of. 

Sampson said to his understanding even if there are cases that shouldn't have an impact on other tenants or building regulations. 

"If they follow proper protocols, stay within their unit, don't interact with the public at any time, I think that should be fine. That's what we're hearing," he said. 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

    But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

    Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

    What should I do if I feel sick?

    Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

    How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.