A.A. from Santa Clara County, California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are deciding whether or not to reopen our pool during COVID-19. Has anyone had a good or bad experience with opening up their pool? Our CDC guidelines has a list of how to do this safely, but it seems safer and less costly to just keep it closed this summer. Pools have always been a problem with residents and non-residents not following the rules. Example: fence jumpers, people letting people in because they “forgot their key”, having parties, and going to the pool after hours.
Mister Condo replies:
A.A., COVID-19 has certainly cost many condominium and HOA dwellers use of their pools this year and for good reason. Not only do traditional rules need enforcement, there are a barrage of new rules and regulations to consider as well. For many associations, reopening their pools is just too costly. It typically requires additional manpower (expensive) and it certainly requires complying with all CDC and local public health guidelines. Most HOAs I am aware of have closed their pools to non-residents for liability reasons. Why should the HOA risk a lawsuit from someone who claims they contracted COVID-19 at the association’s pool. Additionally, many local governments have added enforcement officers to inspect community association pools. In addition to shutting down the pool for not following safety protocols, these officials can also issue fines for observed violations. For these reasons and more, my best advice to Board contemplating this important decision is to speak with the association’s attorney and the association’s insurer. The attorney can provide advice on the risk and legalities of opening the pool while the insurer can advise on the liability and risk mitigation coverage in place or needed before the pool is reopened. It isn’t good news, to be sure, but it is the best advice I have on the matter at this time. All the best!