Late in the day on Friday, April 24, 2020, Riverside County updated its “COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions Concerning State and Local Orders” to allow private pools, including those in community associations, to reopen under the following limited conditions:
- Pools can operate for single occupancy only (one swimmer at a time), regardless of size (e.g., spas) or volume of the pool.
- No gatherings around the pool are permitted; however, a parent or guardian should remain with a minor who is swimming at all times to ensure the minor’s safety.
- All outdoor furniture in pool areas must be removed or stacked/chained in such a manner that furniture is rendered unusable.
- Drinking fountains and showers must remain closed and roped off from use.
- High touch areas such as hand rails, restroom surfaces, light switches, dispensers, faucets, and door knobs must be sanitized frequently.
- Pools must continue to be maintained in accordance with all County laws and regulations to ensure proper chemicals and safety measures are present. More information on pool safety can be found online at: https://rivcoph.org/coronavirus
As a practical matter, most associations are going to have difficulty implementing, monitoring, and enforcing the County’s requirements. If this is the case for your association, you may choose to keep your association’s pools closed unless and until Riverside County further relaxes and explains its shared pool use restrictions.
However, if your community desires to open its pools for single occupancy use, then it should consider adopting emergency rules that requires swimmers to observe County restrictions, and use the pool for a limited amount of time, e.g., 30 minutes per day.
Your association should also post notices at the pool area entrance which state that the pool can only be used by one swimmer at a time and no gatherings around the pool are permitted, except for a parent or guardian of a minor who is swimming.
Additionally, the notice should state that everyone is personally responsible for their own compliance, and that the swimmer is assuming the risk of using the association’s pool and by using the pool the swimmer understands and agrees that the association cannot guarantee that they will not be exposed to or contract COVID-19 by being in the pool area or using the pool. Note, however, that providing assumption of risk notices may not shield your association from liability if someone gets hurt while using the community pool based on the County’s orders.
While Riverside County is starting to lift the prohibition on the use of private shared pools, the city in which your association is located may still have pool use prohibitions in place or have additional requirements that must be met before your community pool can reopen. Be sure to check with your city before your association opens its community pools pursuant the Riverside County requirements. Further, it is important to closely monitor State, County, and Local orders for changes and further guidance.
Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus