STAY AT HOME ORDER AND FACE COVERING REQUIREMENTS
An amended order issued by Riverside County on April 29, 2020, officially extended its stay at home order through June 19, 2020, pending any further orders from the County’s Public Health Officer. The County also purposefully removed its no gathering language from this amended order resulting in Riverside County now falling under California’s general no gathering order, which can be found here.
The State order requires California residents to stay home unless they are engaged in an essential business or undertaking an essential activity. The State’s no gathering order also does not have an expiration date. According to the news release issued by Riverside County on April 29, 2020, which can be found here, “[a]s soon as the governor releases the stay at home order, Riverside County will be ready to move into the governor’s second phase of reopening businesses.”
This amended order also clarifies the face covering requirement for the general public. While everyone, including essential workers, are still required to wear face coverings in public settings (such as waiting in line to go inside a store, picking up food at a restaurant, going into facilities that are allowed to stay open, or working an essential job where the essential worker interacts with the public), face coverings do not need to be worn when:
- At home.
- In the car alone or with members of the same household.
- Outdoors, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, however, social distancing while outside or engaging in outdoor activities must be maintained at all times and face coverings must be readily available.
- People with health conditions whose medical doctors have advised against wearing a face covering and can provide documentation evidencing that advice.
- Children under the age of 2 due to suffocation risks,
Businesses (which would include community associations) must:
- Require their employees, contractors, owners and volunteers to wear a facing covering at the workplace.
- For example, management employees and association volunteers working in an association’s onsite management office, and when performing work off-site.
- Inform customers, (i.e., residents), about the need to wear a face covering, including posting signs and advising customers inside the business.
- For example, if your association has a clubhouse with a restaurant operating on an order pick-up basis, then your community should post signs outside the clubhouse stating that face coverings must be worn by residents who enter the clubhouse to pick-up their order.
- Take reasonable steps to keep people from entering their business without a face covering.
- For example, asking residents who have entered an open association facility to leave and return when they are wearing a face covering unless they have documentation from their medical doctor stating they should not wear a mask because of a health condition.
- Refuse service to anyone not wearing a face covering, unless they have documentation from their medical doctor stating they should not wear a mask because of a health condition
As a result of this amended order, below are some of the most common questions that have been posed to us:
Does this mean my community can fully reopen its indoor recreational facilities?
No. According to the State’s FAQ, gyms and fitness studios must stay closed.
May my community reopen its clubhouse?
The County and State have not provided specific guidance on this issue. However, in our opinion, we believe that clubhouses should remain closed because the stay at home orders are still in place. As such, people should not leave their homes unless they are engaged in an essential business or an essential activity.
Based on the States FAQs and the County’s amended order, the only essential recreational activities allowed are outdoor recreational activities. Therefore, we believe reopening association clubhouses for indoor recreational activities would violate the governments’ stay at home orders. It also may not be possible or financially feasible for your association to implement proper disinfection protocols for common surfaces inside the clubhouse at this time.
May my community reopen its outdoor bocce ball courts, shuffleboard, or horse shoe courts?
In our opinion, the answer is “yes” so long as the players are practicing social distancing and have a face covering readily accessible (unless the players are members of the same household as required under the County’s amended order).
Riverside County took its FAQs off its Department of Public Health website. The single-occupant pool restriction was in the County’s FAQ. Does that mean we can reopen our association pools?
We previously had clear guidelines from Riverside County about private shared pools. (The author will not comment on the logic of the actual guidelines themselves.) However, with the County removing its FAQs from its website, the County’s restrictions on association pools are now unclear since neither the State’s order nor the State’s FAQs address whether private shared pools must close.
For guidance purposes, many cities have ordered their community pools closed until further notice likely due to an inability to monitor social distancing requirements for pool goers and an inability (both physically and financially) to repeatedly disinfect and sanitize frequently touched surfaces (e.g., the coping around the pool, pool hand rails, and bathroom and shower components). Like public community pools, associations will encounter these same difficulties should they choose to reopen their pools. We are also aware of at least one pool vendor who is strongly recommending that the association it services keep their community pools closed due to the above concerns about disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces frequently enough to be effective in preventing the transmission of any virus.
Before deciding to fully reopen your association’s pool, your association should consider (1) whether its residents will be able to comply with current social distancing requirement when at the pool (in other words, will the residents violate the State’s no gathering order) and (2) whether implementing proper disinfection protocols at the pool and for common surfaces is achievable or financially feasible. If the answer is “no” to either of these questions, we recommend that your association keep its pools closed until further direction is given by the County and/or the State. Your association should also contact its pool vendor for its expert recommendation. Finally, your association should also confirm whether your city still has shared pool restrictions in place.
For associations who have opened, or intend to open their pool and implement the single occupancy restriction for pools that the County had previously included in its FAQs of April 24th (now rescinded), those associations may continue to implement that restriction, but should strongly consider how it will implement disinfection protocols.
May my association reopen its’ dog park?
In our opinion, the answer is “no.” Dogs in dog parks are generally off leash. Consequently, it would be difficult for the residents at the dog park to keep six feet away from other dogs as required by the State’s FAQs. Again, for guidance purposes only, most cities have ordered their dog parks closed.
Where can I find this amended County order?
The amended County order can be found here, via the https://rivcoph.org website.
GOLF COURSE AMENDED ORDER
On April 29, 2020, Riverside County also amended its golf course limited reopening order. Starting May 1st, Riverside County is no longer requiring golfers to wear face coverings when playing golf if: (1) golfers maintain social distancing at all times while playing, (i.e., staying more than six feet apart from other golfers), (2) the golfers playing together are limited to the same household members, or (3) when a golfer’s medical provider has advised the golfer against wearing a face covering. This amended order states that the County strongly recommends that people who are over the age of 65, have a chronic underlying medical condition, or have a compromised immune system continue to self-quarantine at home. This amended order can be found here.
As this rapidly changing situation evolves, we will continue to provide our clients with updated information. We are here to help if your association has any questions regarding these amended orders or any other legal issue. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your business. We hope you and your family stay well.
Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus