Governor Jay Inslee recently released guidance for the reopening of water recreation facilities. Previously, these facilities were included in Phase 3 of Washington’s Safe Start Plan, however they have now been moved to Modified Phase 1 allowing for immediate reopening in all counties but Benton, Franklin and Yakima.

As mentioned in Trestle’s June 11, 2020 post, the Board is responsible for the administration of the Association and as such, it is within the Board’s authority to keep water recreation facilities closed if deemed necessary. Trestle encourages Associations to consult their attorney in advance if they plan to keep pools and similar facilities closed and the decision is expected to be particularly contentious.

The reopening requirements are lengthy and very specific. Trestle has included a summary below, and encourages any Associations interested in reopening their water recreation facilities to closely review the guidance provided by Washington State and work with their Community Association Manager to ensure compliance.

General requirements:

  • All water recreation spaces must have a staff member onsite,
  • As an employer, the Association must adhere to the following:
    • Educate the staff member(s) about COVID-19 and prevention techniques,
    • Educate the staff member(s) about the Association’s COVID-19 policies,
    • Maintain a 6-foot separation between all staff member(s) and visitors,
    • Provide staff member(s) with personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks,
    • Require staff member(s) to wear a cloth face covering whenever not alone onsite,
    • Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing by staff member(s),
    • Establish a housekeeping schedule which includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with an emphasis on commonly touched surfaces,
    • Screen staff member(s) for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the start of each shift, and
    • Post a sign at the entrance indicating that visitors must wear cloth facial coverings when outside of the water.
  • Access is limited to 25% capacity at this time. Associations will need to determine the maximum occupancy of the space in order to calculate and maintain the capacity limits,
  • Six-foot physical distancing is required in all spaces throughout all phases until there is a vaccine, treatment, or herd immunity. This includes in the water, on the decks, in bathrooms, lockers and any other communal spaces,
  • Lounge furniture should be removed or rearranged to maintain physical distancing,
  • Other preventive measures, such as the installation of barriers, should be taken in places where physical distancing is not possible, such as front desks,
  • Associations should regularly sanitize frequently touched surfaces including counter tops, doorknobs, handles, handrails, pool toys, etc.,
  • Install signage discouraging group congregation,
  • Ensure restrooms and changing rooms are frequently cleaned and sanitized throughout the day,
  • Require close face coverings be worn at all times except when in the water or showers,
  • Ask visitors to leave the facility after use to prevent gatherings,
  • Increase the number of sanitizing stations, and
  • Prior to reopening, the Association must develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan.

Safety training and pre-screening requirements:

  • A safety briefing must be provided to every visitor every time they access the facility. The briefing must reemphasize the protective measures in place and include social distancing reminders, sanitation protocols and a health screening,
  • Each visitor must sign a waiver of consent and commitment to the Association’s policies prior to access,
  • Each visitor must wear their water recreation attire to the facility and bring their own towel,
  • The Association must conduct a temperature screening or questionnaire at the facility entrance, and
  • The Association must place signage at the entrance advising that access will not be granted to anyone who:
    • Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not yet recovered or is within the 14-day quarantine period,
    • Has had symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 24-hours, or
    • Has had contact with a person who has or is suspected to have had COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Safety and social distancing requirements:

  • Social distancing of at least six feet is required at all times, even in the water, for anyone not from the same household. The Association should have a social distancing plan in place as well as clear signage and markers explaining where visitors may be throughout the facility and at the entrance,
  • Facility access should be limited to one entry point,
  • Tissue and trashcans must be available throughout the facility,
  • Congregation of visitors should include social distancing and not exceed five people,
  • Equipment must be adjusted to allow for proper social distancing and sanitization, and
  • Items which cannot be regularly sanitized should be stored and not used.

Sanitation requirements:

  • Restrooms should be frequently cleaned and disinfected throughout the day,
  • Visitors should be required to bring their own towels and water bottles. Water fountains should be used for filling of water bottles only,
  • Soap and running water must be abundantly available,
  • Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol must be available and distributed throughout the facility,
  • A staff member must confirm that each visitor washes their hands or uses sanitizer upon entrance into the facility, and
  • Staff member(s) must wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently.

Ventilation requirements:

  • Indoor spaces should ensure ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible.

Trestle will continue to monitor the Safe Start Plan and provide additional details as appropriate. For more information, Board Members should contact their Community Association Manager.