5.29.2020- We are currently operating under the current Public Health State of Emergency order which is effective until Friday, June 12, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. It is ordered that non-profit corporations which are not Critical infrastructure that continue in-person operations during the effective dates of this order shall implement measure which mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19. While the water specifically should kill COVID-19, every other surface is an issue. There are a number of other requirements that are not possible for a pool area such as this one, including maintaining 6’ distancing between non-cohabitating persons, constant sanitation and disinfecting of areas touched such as gates and bathrooms. The decision was made to open the pools on Jun 13th, once the stringent requirements causing the liability were removed. However as of yesterday May 28th theses requirements have been extended another 30 days until July 12, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
We do want to make it clear that our goal is to open the pools and get everything back to normal as quickly as possible. However, our number one priority is to ensure that we do not add liability to the members of the association. Several pools in the area have opened and have not been able to manage the requirements currently in place and several pools were opened for one weekend and then were closed due to liability, at the advice of the Association’s attorney.
We have had several people ask why we can’t just allow people to use the facilities at their own risk and the answer to this question is that we are mandated under current laws and orders; therefore we do not set our own guidelines. This is the same reason there are still lots of businesses and restaurants that are closed and the few that are opened are strictly following the requirements. We are thoroughly researching every aspect of this situation to determine the best and most logical course of action. We do understand that likely the majority of you do not have any desire to expose yourself to these increased risks, however we do have people that are willing and ready! Once a decision has been made based on this new and current information we will post it here, if you do not see new information a decision has not been made.
We hear from Homeowners everyday that are thankful for the research and care that goes into the process of keeping everyone protected physically and financially. As you can imagine these decisions are difficult and are not taken lightly. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.
5.15.2020- We have received the new Governor’s ordered signed on 5/12/2020 “Reviving a Healthy Georgia” which outlines the requirements for opening public swimming pools (which our pools are considered, even though they are only open to members) and requirements for nonprofit organizations, such as HOAs. We are currently researching ways to open your pool, while meeting the requirements. We will be posting the following information at the pools and bathrooms concerning risks with using these areas:
INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE A FEVER OR OTHER SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 SHALL NOT ENTER THE POOL AREA. GOOD HAND HYGIENE, INCLUDING HAND WASHING OR HAND SANITATION, IS REQUIRED. HANDSHAKING AND UNNECESSARY PERSON-TO-PERSON CONTACT IS PROHIBITED. SOCIAL DISTANCING OF NON-COHABITATING PERSONS IS REQUIRED. ALL PERSONS ENTERING THESE FACILITIES ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT BY ENTERING AND UTILIZING THESE FACILITIES, THEY MAY COME INTO CONTACT WITH CORONAVIRUS, SARS-COV-2 AND COVID-19, AND PERSONS WHO HAVE CONTRACTED SAME. ALL PERSONS ENTERING THESE FACILITIES FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT BY ENTERING, UTILIZING AND OCCUPYING THESE FACILITIES, THEY MAY CONTRACT CORONAVIRUS, SARS-COV-2 AND COVID-19, WHICH IS KNOWN TO CAUSE RESPIRATORY DISTRESS, PNEUMONIA, SHORTNESS OF BREATH, AND DEATH. BY ENTERING, UTILIZING AND OCCUPYING THESE FACILITIES, ALL PERSONS DO SO AT THEIR OWN SOLE VOLITION AND RISK HAVING FULL KNOWLEDGE OF THE RISKS INHERENT IN ENTERING AND UTILIZING THESE FACILITIES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
We do feel opening in any capacity will be challenging and likely trial and error. It is going to be imperative that those that come to the pool strictly follow any rules and guidelines in place, for the pool to remain open. The occupancy guidelines will be extremely challenging as the 6’ distancing is a requirement on the deck and in the pool. Updates will be posted here as soon as additional information is available, the office staff will not have information available that is not posted on this site. Our goal at this point is to have a process /solution in place at or near the beginning of June, if possible.
Facilities that are permitted to open have to follow strict protocols, sanitation and social distancing is the big concern for everyone. Even if the pool is opened with no furniture, someone needs to regulate the number of people, insure social distancing measures are followed and regular sanitation of the bathrooms and items commonly touched is a requirement.
Just a few of the recommended guidelines that have to be considered:
Administrative cost. Opening facilities during pandemic carries risk. In an effort to minimize the risks, associations will need to comply with the CDC’s recommendations regarding cleaning and sanitizing “high touch areas.” In addition, the CDC continues to recommend that people engage in social distancing measures, which likely means that communities should limit the number of people who can utilize the amenities at the same time, spread or remove furniture, and generally control access to these areas. These administrative burdens will come at a price, in terms of money, time, and effort.
Risk vs. reward. Aside from the obvious risk to human life, there is a distinct possibility that a community association could be named as a party to a lawsuit as a result of hospitalization and/or death stemming from one of its residents contracting COVID-19. Worse, the Association’s insurance may have an exclusion for communicable diseases. Is the risk associated with opening the amenities worth the benefit to the membership? Just because the Governor is allowing places to reopen does not mean they are required to be reopened.
Shortage of supplies. There are still issues with acquiring supplies needed to insure everything is in safe and sanitized condition. Bleach, sanitation wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper still seem to be items that are in short supply.
We will continue to monitor the situation and work on plans for reopening when safe to do so. All updates will be posted on the HOA website and the official HOA Facebook page. Please make sure you are getting your information from one of these two sources. We do realize there has been a big backlash of people in Georgia feeling like things are opening too quickly. Whether you are one that agrees or disagrees, the Governor is leaving decisions to business and facilities, in a lot of these cases. Each business and facility has to assess their particular situation to make a safe decision for those affected. As we all have been following the Covid-19 we understand that there are many different opinions amongst Georgians, please know that we will continue to monitor this situation and do our best to get your amenities reopened when permitted and proper protocols can be met.
Comcast has reached out to the HOA to see if the residents in Forest Lakes were interested in their services in the community. The link below is a survey if you are interested in participating.