The Community Associations Institute, the largest organization representing the interests of condominium and homeowners associations in the world, provides many excellent resources for association directors, members and property managers. One of the organization’s best online resources is its “Ungated” blog at www.blog.caionline.org, and two of its recent entries focused on some of the most important and ubiquitous Covid-related issues that are currently weighing on associations.
In the June 3 post, which is titled “Diving in: More community pools are open for the summer,” pandemic-related pool rules and operations are discussed. The post is based upon a survey of roughly 1,000 members of the Community Associations Institute regarding their pool plans for 2021, and it revealed that only two percent of survey respondents plan to close their pools this summer season. This survey result is in stark contrast to the nearly 44 percent of CAI members who planned to close their pools during the summer season last year.
It is worth noting, however, that more than a quarter of respondents in the CAI survey were still undecided about their pool rules and policies for the remainder of the year due to ongoing coronavirus concerns. Additionally, forty percent of survey respondents confirmed they were planning to require residents to sign a liability waiver when pools reopen.
Regardless of whether an association board wishes to continue to keep pools closed for the summer, open pools, or perhaps even wish to consider requiring a liability waiver or other conditions for pool use, it is imperative that association boards work with qualified legal counsel to discuss, not only the pros and cons of each option, but also the best practices in effectuating the chosen option to protect the association’s legal interests.
CAI also posted a blog article pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine titled “Calling the shots: Addressing COVID-19 vaccines in your community.” This May 27 entry discusses how associations are addressing and discussing the COVID-19 vaccines with their residents. It notes that the vaccines continue to be a frequent trending topic in CAI’s members-only “Exchange” discussion forums, where several conversations have focused on whether to require proof of vaccination from residents to use pools.
The entry notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended a few strategies for discussions concerning the vaccines. These include:
- Listen to questions with empathy. The vaccines are new, and it’s normal for people to have questions about them.
- Ask open-ended questions to explore concerns. The questions should help you understand what the individual is worried about, where they learned any troubling information, and what they have done to get answers to their questions.
- Ask permission to share information. Once you understand questions and concerns, ask if you can provide some information from a source that you trust.
Visit CAI’s blog and other online resources on its website at www.caionline.org to read these and other complete articles on timely issues for associations.
As vaccination rates continue to rise across the country, communities are now returning to a version of pre-pandemic operations. To ensure informed decisions are made in this regard, our firm’s other community association attorneys and I urge association directors and managers to consult closely with highly experienced association legal counsel regarding any potential changes to their rules and operations pertaining to COVID-19 precautions.