Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Coronavirus is spreading but all my building has done is put out hand sanitizer. Shouldn't they be doing more?

By Dianne Ackerman  | March 13, 2020 - 12:00PM

Find out if this is a communication problem or if extra cleaning is not happening, and why. 


Dear Ms. Demeanor,
Coronavirus is spreading in New York City and the only thing our building has done is put a bottle of hand sanitizer on the doorman’s desk. Shouldn’t they be doing more?
Signed, Nervous Nellie

Dear Nellie,

These are very strange times, aren't they? Everyone has to do their part to "flatten the curve," as they say now, and reduce exposure, and that includes buildings. Most buildings are ramping up cleaning efforts, so I'm surprised you haven't seen or heard about more activity.

My building has sent two memos, one to the staff and one to the residents. They explain how they have increased how often the porters clean the common areas like the elevators, laundry room, gym—and the compactor room’s doors and handles.

Gyms, laundry rooms, and other high traffic areas must also be carefully monitored and cleaned. This is where more people congregate. I would bring my own hand sanitizer and wipes (if you can find any in the stores) and wipe down gym equipment and washing machines before using them.

You need to find out if this is a communication problem or if extra cleaning is not happening, and why. In order to combat the coronavirus, buildings need to give staff protective gear and the right cleaning materials—and the training to get the job done safely. I would ask management if this has been done and remind them that residents need to know what preventative steps are being taken. It's not just for their sake—it will keep everyone in the building safer. After all, we're all in this together. And if it's not being done, you are going to have to become the squeaky wheel—speak up to make it happen.

Everything else is really in your hands (which you should continue to wash frequently). 

Ms. Demeanor

Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.


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