As states and localities ease or lift stay-at-home orders, board members and community managers are determining when and how to safely open or reopen pools in their homeowners associations.Associations should follow state and federal orders when considering whether they can and should open the community pool. “The real issue is compliance,” says Scott Carpenter, a shareholder and managing partner at Carpenter Hazlewood in Phoenix, Ariz., and a fellow in the Community Association Institute (CAI)’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). “Can associations do it in a way where they comply with federal and states restrictions and follow public health recommendations?”
For example, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has allowed pools to open but adjustments must be made to the maximum occupancy, explains Carpenter. “On the other hand, some associations are seriously contemplating not opening their pool at all this season because it may be impossible to shift the liability risk,” he adds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there’s is no evidence that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can spread through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfecting with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the coronavirus in the water.
Ben Basch, chief development officer at American Pools in New Jersey, echoes the CDC’s guidance. “There is no risk of transmission through water if pools are well-maintained. That’s why we sanitize the water all the time.”
Wendy W. Taylor, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM, general manager at South Riding Proprietary Inc., in South Riding, Virginia, is following Virginia’s guidelines for opening her community’s pools.