Content provided by Steven E. Black of Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. Original article can be found here.
Many of our association clients are asking whether the board should open the association’s pool in May as originally scheduled, and if so, what additional rules should the board consider in light of the ongoing COVID-19 health concerns.
As an initial step the board of directors must confirm whether there are state, county, city, or other municipal restrictions, including health department restrictions, that may prohibit the association’s pool from being open. If there are, the pool must remain closed. In the event that no executive order or government regulations require the pool to remain closed there are still portions of the North Carolina and South Carolina Governor’s Orders and possibly other orders and restrictions that may apply.
Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all set of guidelines for opening and operating association pools since there may be multiple orders and regulations that apply. The board will want to talk to the association’s attorney to get specific guidance on how to be and stay compliant with all existing orders and regulations.
Whatever the local or state authorities require is the baseline for what a board must implement for their community’s pool to be open legally. For example, North Carolina and South Carolina both require six (6) foot social distancing so the board should adopt rules consistent with this requirement. This may require reducing the number of chairs available at the pool, requiring distancing between chairs of non-family members, and may limit the number of people permitted at the pool at any one time.
The next step is for the board to consider additional rules, beyond that required by any state or local orders. Using good business judgment and considering what is in the best interest of the association the board may consider:
- Only allowing members. No guests.
- Limited pool hours
- Keeping bathrooms and clubhouses closed
- Requiring pool users to bring their own chairs
- Increasing sanitation efforts
- Requiring face masks in the pool area
The board may also want to consider posting a sign at the pool that warns:
- Do not use the pool if you have been sick in the last 14 days
- People using the pool area assume all risks related to COVID 19
- People using the pool area should practice measures recommended by the Center for Disease Control, including sanitizing hands and frequently touched surfaces
The board may also want to discuss with the association’s attorney the requirement that pool users sign a Release and Waiver to protect the Association