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  • May 12, 2020
  • Todd Feist, IREM Sustainability Program Manager
  • Comments (2)

Social distancing in common areas

As the COVID-19 pandemic moves into its next phase, real estate managers must reopen their properties in ways that continue to prevent the spread of disease.

To the extent possible, areas under management control should support the measures recommended by public health authorities that help control the pandemic.

By now we all know the term social, also called physical, distancing - a key tactic in preventing disease.

You’ll want to educate and support tenants/residents in their efforts at social distancing in their spaces, and you’ll need to set up the property’s common areas, such as lobbies, elevators, and security desks, to prevent certain movements by occupants and give them direction on where to walk and stand.

Let’s take a look at some images and what they illustrate in supporting social distancing in common areas. This post focuses on entryways, elevators, lobbies and seating areas, and security/reception desks.


Kyodo News

Credit: Kyodo News


Credit: Los Angeles Times/AFP/Getty images

  • Stanchions, floor decals, and security guards or door attendants who enforce building rules on social distancing and use of PPE can help make entrances run smoothly.
  • Remember to sanitize door hardware and other high-touch surfaces frequently.
  • Explore touchless technology for entrances.
  • You may also need to set up health or temperature screenings at entryways. Check your state/province and local health department guidelines.


Strait Times

Credit: The Strait Times/Jason Quah

lovely peace

Credit: istockphoto/lovelypeace

  • Floor decals can show people where to stand in elevator banks and inside of elevators.
  • The image shows space for four elevator occupants. Depending on the elevators, you may want to limit occupancy even further, to a maximum of two occupants.
  • Post clear instructions for using elevators, as well as hygiene reminders.
  • Remember to install hand sanitizer stations outside of elevators.

Lobbies and seating areas

Ore Huiying

Credit: Los Angeles Times/Ore Huiying/Getty Images


Credit: istockphoto/eblis

  • Remove or restrict seating areas.
  • Floor decals can provide reminders and establish one-way lanes.
  • Sanitize seating areas frequently.

Security/reception desks

Ore Xinhua

Credit: Glabal Times/Liu Changchang/Xinhua

Office Interiors

Credit: Rieke Office Interiors

  • Create queues at security/reception desks with stanchions and floor decals.
  • Install plexiglass barriers at points of interaction.
  • Limit contact at check-in procedures (e.g., by removing shared pens).
  • Remember to make hand sanitizer available, and post social distancing reminders.

Check with your suppliers on availability of equipment, such as stanchions and floor decals, to set up your property’s common areas. Visit for more resources to support property managers during COVID-19.


So, my local community hall is going to be converted into a monkeypox vaccination site next weekend. That's why I like the idea that stanchions can be utilized to keep people separate. I hope the person in charge will request proper installations beforehand.


Great insights and a quick read!


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