The long-anticipated June 15 lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is upon us and for associations with pools, it could not be better news. Community pools are no longer subject to specific restrictions, including mask and capacity restrictions.
More particularly, mask restrictions have been lifted for all vaccinated people in the state (other than for specific indoor places such as public transit and healthcare settings) and unvaccinated people are only required to wear masks indoors. Private associations may still enforce certain mask restrictions if they so choose, however. The state says that outdoor venue operators – which necessarily includes associations with community pools – may choose to:
- Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated people to self-attest that they are in compliance before they enter.
- Implement vaccine verification to determine whether patrons are required to wear a mask.
- Require all patrons to wear masks.
Despite the good news from the state, associations should still be familiar with local restrictions. Individual counties and municipalities may implement guidelines that are more restrictive, including social distancing guidelines that should be followed. Each county's department of public health will likely revise or update its guidelines in the coming days if they haven't done so already, and associations should look to those guidelines when making decisions about the community pool.
Moreover, it may still behoove associations to have COVID-19 liability waivers in place for the summer – there's no harm in having those waivers on file – but otherwise boards can determine whether it wants any mask, social distancing, and/or sanitization requirements to remain in place. For example, if your association is currently providing hand-wash stations at the pool, it should leave them in place unless they are a nuisance.
As for resident-only restrictions, that is up to the Board. Some associations may decide they want to maintain resident-only restrictions as a way of limiting capacity even after the restrictions are lifted, but that will be a financial decision – i.e. fewer patrons leads to lower maintenance and repair costs.
Long story short: restrictions are lifted and associations can make choices as to how it wants to manage capacity and mask requirements. Associations may want to remain cautious and vigilant in the event of case spikes, but for the most part summer at the pool should be back to something resembling normal. Let the fun begin!