Resort-style pools with fire pits. Fitness centers. Dog wash stations.
Apartment community amenities can be huge selling points. Whether they’re luxurious or modest, amenities are important to residents, and they want the option of using them.
This has been problematic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced apartment communities to restrict access to the amenities residents value so much.
Stay-at-home orders are now being lifted in some areas of the country, yet social distancing is still recommended. So, what does this mean for apartment amenities?
Apartment Community Pools
Pool areas are outdoors, and there is generally enough room for residents to maintain social distancing. Other plusses are that the coronavirus does not survive long in high temperatures and high humidity, and chlorine in pool water can render the virus inactive.
While outdoor swimming is relatively low-risk when it comes to COVID-19, it’s crucial to be cautious. It’s still possible to contract the virus while at an outdoor pool by touching surfaces others have touched before you even get into the pool.
Some apartment communities have removed pieces of their pool furniture to encourage residents to stay at least six feet apart, and others are bringing in pool attendants to make sure distancing rules are followed.
Apartment Community Fitness Centers
Gyms were among the first places to close when the pandemic hit the U.S., and now they will be one of the first to reopen, according to the White House’s three-phase reopening plan, along with places of worship and movie theaters.
While some experts still recommend exercising outdoors rather than at a gym even as restrictions are softening, there are precautions that apartment communities can take to keep gym-goers safe.
First, assess your situation and decide if new policies are in order. Some communities are requiring residents to wear masks while using the community fitness center, for example. At the very least, communities should require residents to wipe down equipment before and after use, and ensure you’re providing paper towels and disinfectant.
Additionally, apartment communities who offer fitness classes might want to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to resuming the sessions, since they’re generally held in smaller indoor spaces and involve a group of people.
Apartment Community Business Centers
For residents who rely on their apartment communities’ business centers to print, fax, photocopy and scan documents and use the internet, the easing of restrictions means that completing these tasks will be easier.
But communities may require masks and/or the wiping down of equipment after use. Since these areas tend to be smaller in size when compared to fitness centers, some communities are requiring residents to book appointments to maintain social distancing and give staff enough time to disinfect the room between appointments.
Reserving Apartment Community Amenities
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, which is why more and more apartment communities are turning to technology to keep residents and staff safe.
Some communities are requiring residents to use a mobile app to book reservations to use amenities, while others are turning to other platforms to make amenity appointments.
One of these platforms is the Respage Chatbot, an A.I.-powered assistant that lives on apartment community websites. Residents can interact with the Chatbot to book an amenity reservation, which is confirmed with an authorization code. In addition, the apartment website can include an Amenity Scheduling button distinct from the Chatbot.
Communities can also choose to have a sign posted at the entrances of their amenities with a QR code that takes residents to the amenity scheduling screen. Property managers may also opt to post the amenity reservation link or send it to residents via email.
There is no limit to the number of amenities a community can add to the reservation software, and the calendar for each amenity is available for viewing on the Respage admin dashboard.
Office staff can establish the hours of operation for each amenity, the length of each time slot, the maximum number of residents using the amenity at one time, and how far in advance residents can make reservations. But after the initial setup, the system is designed to operate without help from the office staff.
Restrictions are in the process of being lifted across the country, but that doesn’t mean things will return to normal right away. In most cases, social distancing will still be a priority in order to keep infection levels low.
The main goal of any property manager is to keep residents happy, but a cautious approach is needed to also keep residents safe. An amenity reservation system is a way to balance the two as we wait and see what lies ahead in the coming months. Contact Respage to learn more!