The devastating impact of COVID-19 has been felt throughout the world, changing every aspect of our lives. From how we attend classes to going to work and our social interactions, we have had to implement measures to change everything to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) have been implementing measures to prevent or reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus in their communities. The community swimming pools are a major feature for many communities governed by HOAs. Many HOA boards must face a common question of whether they should keep their community pools closed until the pandemic subsides.
Amid the ongoing vaccination rollout, it might seem like it is okay to keep community pools open. However, it is essential to consider a few important things before making the decision. This post will highlight whether or not it is a good idea to open community pools during COVID-19 under the current circumstances.
Community Pools During COVID-19: Should You Keep Them Closed?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), experts have found no evidence to suggest that the highly contagious virus can spread through recreational water sources like community swimming pools in HOA communities.
The cleaning agents like bromine, chlorine and other chemicals used to disinfect pools can eliminate most contaminants, including the COVID-19-causing virus. It is unlikely for people in your community to catch the coronavirus from swimming in the pool.
However, it might still be dangerous to open the pools just yet. There is a strong chance that people can catch the virus outside the water from other people or by touching surfaces in the pool area. Many HOAs decided to close down their community pools during the start of the pandemic due to this reason as a precautionary measure, and it has been effective.
Communities have started to open again. The CDC has issued new guidelines for public venues like pools, which can be useful for HOA board members to consider during the pandemic. These guidelines can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks combined with healthy hygiene and social distancing practices in the community pool area.
Guidelines for HOAs That Want To Reopen Community Pools During COVID-19
While we still recommend keeping community pools closed, your HOA board might be leaning strongly towards reopening. If you plan to open the community pool in your HOA, you must implement precautionary measures to protect your community members.
Here are some of the most important guidelines that HOA board members should consider:
1. Implement strict social distancing rules
If your community pool area is crowded, it can be challenging for homeowners to follow social distancing rules. HOAs should encourage social distancing by limiting how many people can access the pool area at any given time.
Setting up an online reservation system with time blocks that allow everyone the chance to use the community pool without compromising on social distancing measures can be highly effective in implementing preventive measures.
2. Implement policies for facecloth coverings in the pool area
Wearing face masks and face cloth coverings in the water is not recommended. However, HOAs should implement strict policies for keeping face masks on when homeowners are in the pool area outside the pool. It can reduce the risk of transmission.
3. Create sanitation stations in the area
Install sanitation stations near areas that see a lot of people touching surfaces, like door handles, elevator buttons, near the swimming pool. Showers and restroom areas should have adequate soap and paper towels. Placing disinfectant wipes and sanitizers in different areas around the community swimming pool can also help reduce the risk of infection.
4. Place clear signs and visual cues to promote safer practices
HOAs must place signs with clear visual cues around the swimming pool area to remind homeowners about social distancing measures and other safe practices. Having a list of rules at the entrance and several locations within the pool area can be highly effective. Ensure that high-traffic areas like restrooms and shower rooms also have visual cues that encourage social distancing regulations.
5. Regularly disinfect and clean the community pool area
HOAs typically clean and disinfect community pools regularly. Due to COVID-19, HOAs should ensure that pool disinfection and maintenance are done more thoroughly and frequently to ensure maximum safety.
Make sure that your HOA community’s pool maintenance company employs EPA-approved products to clean and disinfect your community pool area.
Can HOA Board Members Face Trouble For Opening Community Pools During The Pandemic?
We strongly advise all HOA board members to consult with their governing documents before deciding to open or close community pools for now. The governing documents will have the appropriate provisions to help you make a more well-informed decision regarding opening the community pools. They will also contain provisions on how to handle crises or emergencies.
If you are going ahead with reopening your HOA community pool, it is important that you consult with local health officials. PMG Services is a professional community and HOA management company that can offer you the necessary support to deal with creating and enforcing safety guidelines for the community.
HOA community pools constitute an important part of the HOA community. However, the board needs to make a well-informed and calculated decision to ensure the safety of its community members. Discussing the situation with residents in the community can help, but make sure you decide after considering all the factors and consulting with the appropriate authorities.