From the attorneys at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorneys
At the same time as the State announced that California has become the fourth state in the country to surpass 100,000 coronavirus infections and that 100,000 people have died in the United States from COVID-19, Los Angeles County issued a new order allowing for community association pools to reopen so long as certain protocols are followed. The new LA County Order does not mandate that associations open their pool(s). The association’s owners and residents will likely make a demand on the board to reopen the pool; what’s a board to do?
The first thing is to acknowledge that compliance with the new Order will not be easy. Some associations may opt not to open or not open until the association is able to administer the required protocols. These protocols are important. Let us not forget that LA County is still considered a coronavirus “hotspot” and that means that we must all do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The news is filled with stories of people in California crowding certain recreation areas, pools, restaurants and beaches and not wearing masks and how these conditions have led to outbreaks in other states. Community association boards that decide to open pools, must follow the mandatory LA County protocols. In addition, they must make sure that residents comply.
Follow this link to read the new Order/protocol that the County issued for opening the pool(s). This protocol must be adhered to at all times and provides specific guidance/restrictions/limitations on reopening and use of the pools, including the deck area.
Here is a summary of some of the more important required protocols:
The LA County Order requires that community associations implement a monitored appointment system to limit the use of the pool facility to a small number per time of household groups residing within the association. This will be a challenge for smaller associations and those without staff.
Hot tuba/spas/jacuzzis are limited to one person at a time or members of the same household living together and then it is only one household at a time.
There are also many requirements for implementing a cleaning and disinfecting plan for frequently touched surfaces or shared objects each time they are used. Associations must use EPA approved disinfectants and must regularly clean the following, pursuant to an established schedule that must be part of the protocol:
– handrails and slides
– lounge chairs and tabletops
– door handles and surfaces of restrooms, hand washing stations,
diaper changing stations and showers
– common use facilities
Pool Occupancy Limit:
Section B (page 3/4) – use of the pool is restricted to 25% maximum occupancy or 10 persons at a time, whichever is smaller
Section B (Page 3/4) – measures to ensure social distancing are required, including changing the deck layouts, as needed, to ensure that in the standing and seating areas, individuals can remain at least 6 feet apart from those that do not live with them.
– this implies that chairs and chaise lounges are permitted, so long as they are at least 6 feet apart from others (excluding persons from the same household).
Section B (Page3/4) – Associations must provide physical cues or guides (for example, lane lines in the water or chairs and tables on the deck) and visual cues (for example, tape on the decks, floors, or sidewalks) and signs to ensure that residents and swimmers stay at least 6 feet apart from those persons they don’t live with, both in and out of the water.
– Swimmers should bring their own towels to the pool and not share with persons outside their household
– Set up a system so that furniture or other commonly used items that need to be cleaned and disinfected are kept separate from the already cleaned and disinfected furniture
MAJOR RECOMMENDATION: The Association should have a professional pool service come and “conduct a pool safety check to ensure pool chemistry is adequate for disinfection and that the pool has been evaluated for safety equipment.” (Section C page 3/4) We are assuming this is to ensure that the chlorine and ph levels will be adequate and safe prior to allowing persons to use the pool.
The new LA County pool reopening protocol is nearly 4 pages long and also addresses the employees who will be at the pool site. Association’s should review the protocol and ensure each checklist item is adhered to and each blank is filled in.
Note that there are many requirements for the posting of signage throughout the facility and its entrances.
LIABILITY WAIVERS? Many associations are opting for liability waivers and for good reason; they don’t want to be held liable for a resident contracting the coronavirus and then blaming the association.
SwedelsonGottlieb is open and we are here to help. Let us know if you have any questions or if you need help navigating the protocols or need a liability waiver agreement. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800-372-2207.