Community associations, much like government, public agencies, schools, and businesses big and small, have never faced a crisis like this one. The scale, scope, and ever-increasing impact have been astounding, but associations are perfectly positioned to engage, connect, inform, and help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the widespread threat of the virus in the U.S. became evident in late February, community association board members and managers began asking questions. Some were easier to answer than others: What can we do to prevent the spread? Where can we get trusted information?

Some were more involved and specific to community operations and maintenance: Can we hold our board meeting over a conference call? What should we do if a resident contracts the disease? Should we continue to collect assessments?

While the COVID-19 outbreak is unique, lessons learned from emergency operations during natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and fires, can apply. Building fire and burst pipe cases also lend some cues. How communities responded during the Great Recession that began in late 2007 help as well. Some communities and businesses had already allowed at least some remote working capability before it became essential.

The May/June issue of CAI’s Common Ground TM magazine covers the steps communities are taking as a result of the outbreak, some of the most pressing FAQs answered by expert attorneys, how large-scale communities and management companies are reacting, what to do about construction projects, and more.

As we’ve promoted before on the blog, there’s additional help online too. Visit for sample forms, graphics, and templates, more FAQs, updates on CAI classes and events, and analysis of government actions.

COVID-19 is top of mind for everyone, but at the same time, our lives haven’t stopped, and neither will the work for associations. That’s why Common Ground May/June also covers concerns about aging infrastructure, neighbors and nuisances, new resident welcome kits, a beautiful “agrihood” in Texas, and assistance animals.

These are stressful, unsettling, and difficult times, and more challenges are ahead.

It’s OK to be anxious, nervous, and scared. We all should find a way to take a break and disconnect, but we also all have a role to play to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to government and public health officials. Find a way to support friends, family, neighbors, and local businesses in this new age of social distancing. Let’s take care of ourselves and protect the people around us.

  • Daniel Brannigan

    Daniel Brannigan is CAI's Director of Publishing and Managing Editor of Common Ground™ magazine. He has been editor of CAI's flagship publication since 2010 and previously edited CAI's newsletters Community Manager, Minutes, and Law Reporter. Daniel has helped guide Common Ground to awards for feature article design and single-topic issue from Association Media & Publishing's EXCEL Awards. Community Manager picked up six awards for general excellence and newswriting under Daniel's guidance from 2007-2010. A former reporter, Daniel is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, daughter, pug, and cat.

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