The Lifting of Mask in Texas Creates Solid Reactions from Lone Star Apartment Operators

While it is true that the status quo is prevailing, some employees and companies are happy about the decision of the government. The pronouncement made by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on February 2 in terms of lifting the requirement of the state that its citizens wear masks in public has made the apartment operators split. They are mulling over as to whether to alter their protocols regarding the wearing of masks of residents and employees.


Property management specialists’ reactions have ranged from “relief and gratitude” to “wild cheers in the corporate office from employees. While others are still afraid of the consequences in terms of health that could be caused by the decision of the governor. Those trying to adjust will place them immediately or within the succeeding week. Others are just waiting for the next move while they are recovering from the pandemic brought about by the COVID-19.


The President of GWR Management, a Houston-based firm, Gina Y. Erwin stated that they transmitted an email today to their personnel telling them that they will no longer require masks of employees. They can remove the signs from the walls and doors already. But that does not discount the idea that one can still wear masks if they feel more comfortable by doing so. The majority of them are excited. However, we cannot deny the fact that there are some in the apartment industry who express their concerns and will continue wearing masks. But in its entirety, the majority are happy to showcase their smiles once more.


Before all this, GWR mandated masks at each property. Some property owners require their staff to wear masks at all times during work and while inside occupied units. As long as people can maintain social distancing of six feet while outside, they were not required to wear a mask. Some apartments require all residents, customers, and guests to wear masks before entering the vicinity and the leasing offices. Signs are posted at each entry point and hallways.


For the common areas inside complexes, some apartment management posted signs that fundamentally put the burden on residents for taking measures about the pandemic. That includes wearing face masks, social distancing and only allowing a specified amount of people to go inside, depending on the capacity. Meanwhile, outside common areas and pools had similar measures as far as distancing and capacity is a concern, but there is no requirement for wearing a mask.


Apartment complexes, as well as other businesses, can specify what policies about wearing masks and the utilization of amenities are best for the employees and tenants. Some apartment owners and managers in Texas are sharing best practices and other measures to aid in lessening the spread of the virus.


Effective March 10, all amenity spaces will resume basic occupancy requirements for each unit. Face shields and masks will remain a mandatory requirement for indoor amenity spaces as well as elevators. Wearing masks is consistent with the advice of health specialists and protocols from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


While there are many people excited about the changes, you have to be reminded that not all are comfortable with others in close distance, not wearing protective face shields. It is strongly recommended that face masks and shields should be worn throughout the community and follow the protocol on social distancing. It is being taken positively by the majority of the tenants in the whole of Texas.


Meanwhile, other apartment companies are sorting through rental assistance programs as well as storm recovery. It simply means that they have not given this new mask protocol a lot of thinking yet. Some of them feel that the said confirmation is moving towards the proper direction in terms of recovering from this pandemic. Maintenance personnel who are still interacting with tenants going into homes, as well as office personal conversing with tenants, should still wear a mask. It is a case-to-case basis, for that matter. But after all, it is a given to have some respect for the wishes of others who still opt to wear masks and reciprocate around them.


For some of the apartment managers, some believed that residents would be a lot satisfied with the decision and it would make the experience of customer service a lot better. At the end of the day, we cannot deny the fact that there will be a divided opinion regarding this topic in the coming weeks.


The optional virtual tour. A leading company stated that the national developer and manager of Class A multifamily properties are having a conservative approach and is needing employees to wear face masks when inside the office working with each other and tenants or when engaging in a property tour.




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