A.C. from Texas writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Should pools remain closed during COVID?
Mister Condo replies:
A.C., that is a really common question this time of year as the warmer weather approaches the parts of the country where seasonal pool openings are being considered. To be honest, there isn’t a right or wrong answer here, just some friendly advice and considerations that associations need to be weary of before reopening their pools or any other amenity, really. First, seek competent advice from your association attorney. The attorney will let you know what is happening locally with regards to lawsuits and the general attitude of the courts towards liability in COVID-related matters. If you are in a part of the country where COVID is still common and deadly, it is likely that opening the pool will not make sense. Also, speak with the association’s insurer to learn about liability and coverage in the event of a COVID-related lawsuit. If the association isn’t adequately covered, opening the pool could be a huge financial risk that outweighs the consequences. With those considerations in mind, the Board also needs to consider the reaction of unit owners. Many associations are facing severe anger from community members who feel they are being denied a fundamental right to use the association pool. While home and unit owners may be angry, it is far more important that the Board make the correct BUSINESS decision for the association. If the risk seems minimal, I think many Boards will reopen their pools and require social distancing and other safety standards (restricting the number of bathers, no guests, etc.). Again, I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column nor am I an expert in public health policy. I live in a very large Central Florida HOA where the pools have been open with these protocols in place for some time. I can report a healthy swimming environment and happy homeowners. Good luck!