Even though COVID-19 is still around, many Georgia community associations are deciding to open their pools on time this swim season. This is consistent with a national CAI poll that revealed only 2% of surveyed members were going to keep their pools closed this year—compared to 44% at the same time last year. The dramatic shift in concern amongst community leaders is likely due to the continued rollout of the vaccines, as well as the relaxed restrictions and guidelines coming from public officials.
As we discussed back in March 2021, the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act has been extended through July 14, 2022. This means, as long as Georgia community associations continue to post the signage required under the Act at their amenity entrances, they should be protected from COVID-19-related liability. Keep in mind, however, the signage alone may not protect against negligent maintenance or turning a blind eye to common-sense precautions while COVID-19 remains present.
This is why we are recommending that, at the very least, communities still implement additional cleaning (when feasible) and require social distancing this pool season. Also, every amenity area is different, so be aware that there could be other precautions necessary for your pool (e.g., limiting the total number of guests, spacing out pool furniture, hiring a pool monitor, etc.). There is no question that things appear to be better than this time last year, but community associations should remain vigilant to avoid any potential liability.
Finally, as always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your specific rollout plan or amenity area, it’s best to consult with your association’s attorney.