Covid and Swimming Pools at Community Associations

Temperatures are rising and the summer heat has everyone looking for a reprieve at the beach or poolside, including at community associations where residents and their guests are accustomed to taking advantage of this cool, liquid amenity. But not all board members and property managers took the plunge and opened their pools at the same time, according to a recent survey conducted by the Community Associations Institute (CAI). In fact, some pools at HOAs and condo complexes around the country are still off-limits.

CAI Survey Says

The CAI asked board members, managers, and other stakeholders in the industry during June and July what they are doing about opening their pools and pool safety.  Here’s what the survey revealed:

  • Only 7% of respondents report that their community opened their pool at the regularly scheduled time
  • 40% report their pools are still closed
  • Communities that opted to hold off on opening the pool as regularly scheduled cited several reasons for keeping the cover on and the water drained: fear of exposure to legal liability (58%); fear of spreading COVID-19 (50%); and attorney recommendation (48%)

The timing for opening the pools at HOAs, COAs, co-ops, and PUDs may also reflect different state and local policies with regard to lifting restrictive requirements such as safer-at-home and social distancing recommendations. For example, while more than 80% of respondents in New Jersey reported their pools are closed, more than 90% of respondents in Florida reported taking the cover off.

Splish Splash Safety Is First

Although the CDC says there is no evidence that “COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs,” it’s critical for associations to implement proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection practices for pools and hot tubs. Community associations have also instituted measures such as requiring residents to sign a liability waiver, keeping the common bathrooms closed, limiting lap swimming, prohibiting guests, and having residents bring their own chairs and reserving swim time in advance.

Thirty-five percent of the CAI survey respondents say they are spending more money on their pool operation and maintenance as a result of COVID-19 safety policies. Some boards are hiring an individual to monitor COVID-19 guidelines (masks, social distancing) and to wipe chairs and other touchpoints, and asking residents to pay for the additional costs involved.

Keeping residents safe is a top priority for community associations. We have provided COVID-19 Safety Guidelines, including pool safety measures, you can provide to clients. Just download the guidelines here. Also, be sure your clients have a comprehensive community association insurance package in place.