COVID19 – We Are In Phase Three – What Does That Look Like For My Community?
Steven R. Braten, Shareholder
Michael H. Casanover, Senior Associate
Paula S. Marra, Senior Associate
On September 25, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-244 (Phase 3; Right to Work; Business Certainty Suspension of Fines). The Order eliminated the restrictions set forth in Executive Orders 20-112, 20-123, 20-139, 20-192, 20-214 and 20-223. The eliminated restrictions primarily benefit the hospitality industry and have less of an impact on Florida’s community associations. Following the Governor’s Order, Palm Beach and Broward Counties issued Emergency Orders, which significantly impact community associations.
How Does the Governor’s September 25th Executive Order Impact Community Associations?
The Governor’s latest Executive Order eliminates Executive Order 20-123, which allowed counties to seek approval to operate vacation rentals, and Executive Order 20-139, which discouraged congregating in groups larger than 50 persons. Even though there is no longer a state-wide moratorium on vacation rentals, your community’s governing documents or local municipality may still restrict vacation or short-term rentals. While Executive Order 20-139 discouraged congregating in groups larger than 50 people, the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) guidelines should still be adhered to. A link to the CDC’s guidelines on gatherings and community events may be found here. Your association should contact its attorney with any questions regarding the obligation to hold in person board meetings or rescheduling annual meetings that were postponed.
Executive Order 20-244 did not affect the state of emergency and the mortgage foreclosure and eviction mortarium. The state of emergency enacted by Executive Order 20-52 was extended until November 3, 2020 by Executive Order 20-213 and is subject to further extension. The extension of mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief, which was previously extended by Executive Order 20-211, expired on October 1, 2020.
Palm Beach County Emergency Order 28
On the heels of the Governor’s Order, Palm Beach County issued Emergency Order 28 on September 29, 2020. This Order repealed all prior Orders entered by Palm Beach County related to COVID-19 except for Order 12, which requires facial coverings, and Order 17, which deals with enforcement. Order 28 still requires facial coverings in places where social distancing cannot be adhered to, including community associations. Further, Order 28 requires all individuals, businesses, and establishments to adhere to the social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting guidelines issued by the CDC.
What does this mean for my community association?
Order 28 repealed the requirements imposed by Order 7, including an association’s obligation to monitor its community pool. Community associations must still comply with the County’s mask requirements and the CDC social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting guidelines for restrooms, gyms, etc.
Broward County Emergency Order 25
On September 25, 2020, Broward County issued Emergency Order 20-25 which impacts community association pools, fitness centers, and community rooms. Below is a summary of the pertinent provisions that effect community association facilities.
Community Rooms and Fitness Centers.
- Open at the discretion of the community association.
- Maximum capacity of 50%, does not apply to members of the same household.
- Community rooms, fitness centers, and gyms are limited to residents of the community, their families, and their guests. If used by others, such facilities must, among other requirements, operate at no more than 50% capacity and not more than 100 guests per event. Tables must be limited to 50% capacity. Tables must be spaced six feet apart. If an event is attended by at least ten people, then a monitor must be designated.
- Exercise machines, equipment, and tables must be arranged to ensure six-foot distance between patrons and social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC must be adhered to.
- No multi-player games (i.e. mahjong, poker, etc.) may be played in community rooms, except among members of the same household.
- Before reopening the community room or fitness center, it must be thoroughly deep cleaned, disinfected and sanitized. The room must be deep cleaned daily.
- Disinfecting wipes must be provided by the Association and patrons must wipe each machine down after each use.
- Hand sanitizer must be available at the facility. Patrons must be informed that they must sanitize their hands entering the gym and prior to using each piece of equipment.
- Hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and shower facilities must remain closed.
Pool Decks and Recreational Amenities.
- Pools and pool decks must only be used by current residents, their families and guests.
- Six-foot social distancing guidelines must be adhered to.
- Pool deck and pool occupancy is limited to 50% capacity.
- The Association must ensure that pool chairs, railings, gates, tables showers and other equipment at the pool and pool deck are sanitized on a regular basis.
The emergency orders are changing rapidly, and our goal is to keep you up to date with current information as it is received. Please feel free to send any additional questions that you may have to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you at our webinars and other educational events in the near future.