Trestle spoke with several Washington State Community Association attorneys and they recommend Associations exercise extreme caution when considering the reopening of pools and similar facilities. It may be safer and more cost effective for Associations to keep these spaces closed rather than open. Similarly to the reopening of open-air common spaces, an Association is not required to reopen these spaces by the State. As such, if safely reopening pools and similar facilities is not feasible for an Association, they would not be in violation of the Safe Start plan to leave them closed.
It is possible that some Owners may be upset if facilities remain closed for the season however, as the Board is responsible for the administration of the Association, it is within the Board’s authority to keep the spaces closed if they deem it necessary. Similarly to the reopening of open-air common spaces, Trestle encourages Associations to consult their attorney in advance if they plan to keep pools and similar facilities closed and the decision is expected to be particularly contentious.
Currently, there is limited State guidance regarding the reopening of pools however, Trestle anticipates that they will issue additional information in the coming weeks before any Counties reach Phase 3. For Associations considering reopening their pools or similar facilities, it is important to understand the published recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). After reviewing the recommendations and speaking with attorneys specializing in Community Associations, Trestle encourages any Associations considering the reopening of their facilities to take the steps outlined below:
- Limit access to verified Residents only,
- Determine the maximum occupancy of the space in order to calculate and maintain the 50% capacity limits required by Washington State,
- Have a staff member onsite while the facility is opened to continually monitor access and occupancy,
- Maintain a record of all pool visitors, so they could be notified they may have been exposed if someone later becomes ill,
- Remove and securely store all shared equipment (i.e. pool chairs, umbrellas, toys) before opening the facility to Residents,
- Provide notice to Residents that they may bring their own chairs and towels but should not bring any other items such as bags, toys, or food,
- Provide notice to Residents that they must maintain social distancing while using the facility and must wear a mask whenever outside of the water,
- Post clear signage outlining social distancing guidelines and health precautions (i.e. covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, etc.),
- If there is a restroom, have a staff member onsite to sanitize the space between uses and refill supplies,
- Have a staff member onsite to sanitize heavily touched surfaces after each use (i.e. gates, doorknobs, and pool railings),
- Install clear markings on the ground and in the pool to designate social distance spacing (i.e. wait lines for restrooms, denoted seating areas, etc.) before opening the facility to Residents.