As temperatures keep rising in the Carolinas, many homeowners are anxious to be able to go to the pool. With restrictions in some areas beginning to loosen, some associations have opted to open this amenity to members, with safety precautions in place. It is important that members be made aware of risks and the guidelines being followed to keep them as safe as possible. HOAs should consult the latest CDC recommendations as well as state and local regulations when it comes to deciding when and how to reopen the pool.
Practice social distancing. Members who do not live together should still maintain at least six feet from one another whether in the pool or out. Space out seating to encourage safe distancing and avoid crowding. Members should wear masks when possible, except while in the water. Wet masks can be dangerous and make it difficult to breathe.
Clean, clean, clean. Have plenty of cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer available. Regularly wipe down commonly touched surfaces such as ladders, hand rails, slides, equipment, and furniture. The association may want to have separate piles for chairs so that members can grab a clean one when they come in and put it in a pile to be sanitized when they leave. If locker rooms are open, they should also be regularly cleaned and sanitized and stocked with soap and paper towels.
Don’t share equipment. If there are paddle boards, pool noodles, rafts, or other water toys available – or members can bring their own – remind them not to share with individuals outside of their group. Communal equipment should be sanitized between use by different members.
Limit the number of people. The association may want to have a capacity limit in place so the pool does not become too crowded. Some organizations ask members to sign in upon arrival and to limit their time at the pool to no more than two hours, for example, so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the facilities. Also, having a sign-in sheet can help with notifying members if they may have been exposed should someone later test positive for COVID-19.
Communicate regularly. Send out reminders about pool rules and expectations beyond just safety practices put in place due to COVID-19. There are still other risks associated with pool use, so safety all around is a top priority. Also notify members about any changes to hours of operation, cleaning and sanitization protocols, capacity, or other requirements so they can be prepared. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, has been in close contact with someone who tested positive, or who has symptoms should stay home and self-isolate for at least 14 days.
Before your HOA decides to open its pool, make sure you have a detailed plan in place, know what to do in case someone tests positive for the virus, and have consulted with local health officials on recommended guidelines. Kuester supports HOAs in effectively communicating with members and making informed decisions based on local, state, and federal requirements. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist your association.