After months of repeated emergency orders prompting the closure of amenities for condominium associations and HOAs, it comes as no surprise that many community association stakeholders are in search for guidance related to the safe operation of their pools, fitness centers, tennis courts, social rooms and other shared amenities. Thanks to the Community Associations Institute (CAI), the largest organization representing the interests of community associations in the world, a complimentary new guide is available to provide boards of directors and property managers with a great deal of timely and helpful information.
The new booklet, which is titled “Status Check: A Reopening Guide for Community Associations,” offers aid and support for associations contending with the challenges of reopening all their facilities. The guidance for the common areas and amenities is organized by risk level or reopening phase, enabling them to be applied in accordance with the current conditions throughout the country.
The guide and other resources in CAI’s interactive Coronavirus Resource Page also offer helpful templates that may be modified for use by individual communities. These include:
- A sample letter template to update residents about common areas and amenities.
- Common area signage templates.
- Guidelines for community association common areas, amenities and operations.
Our firm’s other South Florida community association attorneys and I have been helping many associations to develop and deploy the best practices and protocols for the closure and reopening of their amenities and common areas. While CAI’s booklet is not intended to be the sole source to be used by community associations with regard to navigating the reopening and safe operations of their facilities, it does serve as a useful starting point from which associations and their managers may begin their analysis of how best to proceed with such efforts.
The booklet contains provisos suggesting that association directors and managers should be mindful of considerations such as local orders or laws, as well as other factors like infection rates and specific facility-related concerns regarding an association’s amenities, when making decisions in the reopening process. Accordingly, we strongly advise all boards of directors and property managers to seek the guidance of highly qualified and experienced community association legal counsel regarding all the issues and questions specific to their community in connection with the reopening process.
Many of our firm’s association attorneys are proud members and participants in CAI, and we salute the organization for providing this guide and other helpful resources for associations to meet the challenges posed by the new post-COVID 19 normal. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on community associations, visit CAI’s Coronavirus Resources page at www.caionline.org/pages/coronavirus.aspx, which also includes a link to the new Status Check reopening guide.