Our lives officially grounded to a halt on March 11, 2020. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Schools began closing, college and sports leagues suspended seasons, and many of us began working from home. One year later, the numbers are staggering.

Nearly 530,000 Americans have died, more than 29 million cases have been recorded in the U.S., roughly 22 million have lost their jobs, and we’re not free from the virus yet.

But there’s also hope. Millions of Americans are receiving the vaccine daily; an estimated 62.5 million, 18.8% of the population, have received at least one dose. There are signs, just as we open our windows and doors to the first hints of spring, of life returning to normal.

One year later, since lockdowns, social distancing, and masks changed our lives, we have a chance to reflect on the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many community associations have learned valuable lessons to carry forward as they conducted business through virtual meetings, factored any costs associated with the pandemic into their budgets, and continue offering support to residents.

It’s also a good time to look forward. As the vaccination rollout continues, many community association board members, managers, and professional business partners are wondering what comes next. Will amenities reopen? Will virtual meetings continue? When can we hold in-person events again? Can more employees work on-site now?

Just as CAI developed guidance when we first learned of the pandemic and its impacts, more resources and advice are being developed for the next phase. We’ll be turning to our experts again and sharing materials as they become available.

The question that will guide the latest round of advice is the same you should be asking every day: What’s best for the community? The answer will guide board members and managers through association governance and operations, and in turn, help the community thrive.

I’ve also been thinking about how I’d answer the question. For my community and the world around me, it’s clear that the most important thing I’ll do this year is to sign up and get my shot. Doing so is at once selfish and selfless. It’s for me, my family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, the grocery store clerk, the waiter at my favorite restaurant, the stranger I’ll pass at the store, and so on.

I know I’ll feel a sense of relief, and I’ll feel good about doing my part to help the community and put an end to the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on how to protect yourself and others when you’ve been fully vaccinated gives me hope too. Precautions are still necessary but gathering indoors without masks with family and friends who also are fully vaccinated will be another step on our way back.

>>Read more about what comes next for community associations in “Lasting Change” from Common Ground magazine’s March/April 2021 issue.

Daniel Brannigan

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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