S.W. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Since we are living in the period of COVID, one of the concerns among Board Members is that the Association’s Liability Policy will not cover the Association in the event a resident sues the association because they claim they have contracted COVID-19 from the Pool, Gym or any other amenities that the Community offers its residents. I was wondering is there any proposed legislation in CT or at the Federal Level that could shield the association from this gap in liability from their insurance company? Our Property Management company had talked about a Safe Haven law being proposed in CT that they either read or heard, but can no longer find the source of this information.
Mister Condo replies:
S.W., I am aware of no such legislation, federal or state, that would protect the association from COVID-19 related lawsuits. In fact, the best advice I have heard on the matter is to practice extreme caution when opening amenities like pools and clubhouses and to speak with your association attorney BEFORE opening any amenity that could lead to a lawsuit. In almost all cases that I am aware of, when amenities are reopened, they have been limited to association members only (no guests) and they require social distancing measures to be observed. I would be surprised if there is any legislation to offer Safe Harbor to associations. The reason is simple. COVID-19 has proven to be highly contagious. Why would an insurance company take on the additional risk and exposure by granting associations freedom from responsibility for taking all practical safety measures to limit risk from exposure? You could be talking about millions of dollars because XYZ Association decided to hold their Annual Summer Splash Pool Party! I think the only sound advice is to work with both the association’s attorney and insurance provider to determine if/when amenities should be opened and what type of liability the association is looking at for doing so. If the association feels the risk outweighs the reward, they should keep their amenities closed. If the reward outweighs the risk, they should open. Either way, they should make these decisions with the advice and counsel of legal and insurance experts. Good luck!