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Swimming Pool Update 2

June 7, 2020 :: Latest News

We don’t yet have an opening date. As of today, Virginia Governor Northam has issued at least 18 COVID-19 executive orders and order amendments that could pertain to our swimming pool, all of which we’re expected to know, understand, and follow. The majority of Virginia has entered Easing of Restrictions Phase 2. Northern Virginia, however, remains at Phase 1, and the governor has not announced when that will change. We rely on guidance from our pool management company, which had been recommending that we remain closed during Phase 1 due to all the restrictions. The social distancing requirement is still a big factor — who is responsible for enforcing it and how will it be enforced? Other remaining issues include sanitizing requirements. We and the pool management company are working out the details on how often everything needs to be disinfected, what exactly needs to be cleaned, and whether the guards or a new janitorial service will do the work. Are we allowed to have only one sink, shower, and restroom stall available for use on each side of the pool house? As we understand now, each fixture and shower must be re-sanitized after each use, which takes time and will necessitate frequent pool closures throughout the day. In Phase 1, can people swim laps in adjacent pool lanes that are only seven feet wide and still maintain the ten foot distancing that the law says is required “during all activities”? Phase 2 allows three people per lane for exercise and lap swimming, but three people can’t simultaneously swim laps in a single lane and still maintain ten feet of distancing. There are many other operational issues to resolve, including seemingly simply things like the route people will walk to enter the pool deck. HOA liability insurance issues also come into play, as do new legal notices that pools are required to post. The governor’s orders have been becoming more restrictive or easing almost weekly, forcing us to work with a moving target. On the one hand, we’d like to open both pools to everyone as soon as possible. On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to spend weeks and thousands of HOA dollars attempting to meet requirements that will allow only three people at a time to swim laps if those requirements will soon disappear. It looks like Northern Virginia will eventually be entering Phase 2, so we and our pool management company have been studying the current Phase 2 requirements to see if meeting those requirements and opening under those conditions will be feasible.

This is an ongoing balancing act, but in summary, we’re not currently at a point where using the pool will be as simple as calling a restaurant to make a table reservation.

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