The latest public health order, PHO 20-38, issued May 14, 2021, has removed the mask mandate for vaccinated individuals and most people are thrilled! With the removal of the mask mandate comes the follow-up questions of what this means for opening pools, playgrounds, gyms, and the like.
Below are some questions and answers concerning this issue:
Q: Does the State still have occupancy restrictions in place?
A: For the most part no, but there are some limited restrictions applicable to certain circumstances, including but not limited to Mass Indoor Gatherings. So be sure to review PHO 20-38 to see if any such restrictions apply to your community.
Q: Do we have to require pool users to wear masks?
A: The state does not currently require fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks, and the association can follow suit. However, you still need to check county regulations to ensure masks are not required at the county level.
Q: Do we have to keep cleaning and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces at the pool?
A: While it is unclear whether the State’s hourly cleaning and disinfecting requirements are still in effect and to what extent, any such requirements are set to expire June 1, 2021, unless extended by the Governor. However, the safest option is to still continue cleaning and sanitizing the pool areas until May 31, 2021. The State’s recreation guidelines encourage such activity, as well as referring to the CDC for more guidance on COVID-19 pool safety.
Q: Are pool waivers still recommended?
A: Yes. Although pool waivers do not insulate associations from liability or from being sued, they are oftentimes deterrents to filing legal action. In other words, owners who have signed pool waivers are often reluctant to initiate legal action as they feel they cannot prevail since they signed the waiver. Additionally, if an association does get sued, the waiver can be used as a defense.
Q: Are there any other factors associations need to take into account?
A: Yes. It is important to remember that regardless of everything stated above, there is still a lack of insurance coverage for associations if they get sued because a patron believes he/she contracted COVID at the pool, playground, gym, etc.
Please contact an Altitude attorney, at 303.432.9999 or at [email protected] with any questions about the latest public health order and what it means for your community.