Many of you are hopeful that VOW will now be opening the pool since the Governor has authorized Phase 2 of the reopening of Virginia. We would like to see that happen also. Unfortunately, the Board unanimously voted to postpone opening the pool until at least Phase 3. That could be the end of June/beginning of July. Here is why we took this action.
The Governor’s Executive Order 65 sets out specific language regarding swimming pools, on pages 23 and 24 of the Guidance from Forward Virginia. It reads: “Indoor and outdoor swimming pools may be open for lap swimming, diving, exercise, and instruction only.” It also includes 11 other requirements. It won’t surprise you that there are social distancing limits, but instead of 6′, they are 10′ for non-family members. Signage is a reasonable requirement, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting is to be expected, and providing hand sanitizer is not surprising. We would do all this if recreational swimming and play time was allowed. But it is not, and there is more.
One of the requirements that we are not prepared for at this time is to “screen patrons for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission to the facility.” Every time you want to enter the pool area. This includes asking about fevers, travel history, coughs, breathing, chills, and other information, all of which must be “conducted in accordance with applicable privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.” To help with this, a recommended Waiver form would need to be completed by every household and kept on file. Not only might you not want the hassle of answering, someone has to actually ask these questions of you.
One lifeguard cannot be responsible for all of this. We would need volunteers (or paid staff) to help clean tables, pool railings, door handles, etc., on an every 2-hour basis or between users, to enforce capacity limits, to verify waivers or check for COVID symptoms, and such.
You may have heard that other communities are opening their pools. I am not aware of what their financial status is, or their staffing situation, or their insurance coverage. Regardless, other openings will not influence us to open at this time, given our interpretation of the Executive Order.
WANT TO HELP?
Our goal is to be prepared to open in Phase 3 if at all possible. This will require that we have a corps of volunteers ready to assist with not just opening day prep and cleaning, but the ongoing assistance to meeting COVID-19 requirements. Please contact Kelly Coronel, our pool committee chairperson at email@example.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing to help. If we do not get enough volunteers, it is likely we will not be able to open at all for the 2020 pool season.
GOT YOUR POOL PASS?
Any opening will also require that you use your electronic key pass to enter the pool. The same pass that you used last year and before that is the one you need. It is a small beige card the size of a credit card. Use of the pass will be strictly enforced this year. If you do not have a pass, or can’t find it, you will need to get another one. The replacement fee is $25, and the keys are going to be available through Berkeley Realty Property Management. Due to COVID-19, their office is not currently open to the public except by appointment. We need to make sure we have enough replacement keys on hand, so if you need a key, please let me or Kelly know so we can plan ahead. We may try to schedule a time when you can pick one up at the clubhouse, if there is sufficient need.
Your understanding of the situation is much appreciated. It was not an easy decision, but we feel it is the right thing to do.
President, VOW HOA Board of Directors