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COVID-19 Update: What Phase 3 Means for NC HOAs and Condos

Jim Slaughter

It’s been awhile coming. Today, September 30, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina will move to “Phase 3” with regards to coronavirus restrictions this Friday, October 2 at 5 pm. Some restrictions will remain in place, but others have been loosened.

Executive Order #169 covers a host of businesses and activities, but here are some highlights for North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations:

General Recommendations. Those at risk of severe illness from COVI-19 (individuals 65 years or older or those with serious underlying medical conditions) are encouraged to stay home.

Restrictions on gatherings. Executive Order #169 maintains the maximum gathering numbers of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space.” Such requirements should be taken into account when planning any association in-person membership or board meeting.

Indoor or outdoor pool facilities. Executive Order #169 incorporates the pool language from prior Executive Order #163. That means that pools (whether stand-alone or part of other facilities) may operate, but must:

  1. Limit user capacity in the pool to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy as determined by fire code (or, when the fire code number is not known, 33 people per 1000 square feet in deck areas, wading pools and splash pads) and a maximum occupancy in the water of 10 people per 1000 square feet (the “Emergency Maximum Occupancy for the facility), and
  2. Follow “Core Signage, Screening, and Sanitation Requirements” in the Order.

Gyms, fitness and exercise facilities may open, but must limit guests in indoor areas to : (a) 30% of the stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than 7 guests for every 1000 square feet of the location’s total square footage including parts that are not accessible to guests); (b) Limit the number of guests in any given room of the facility so that everyone can stay 6 feet apart. For outdoor areas the guests must be limited to 12 guests for every 1000 square feet.

There are numerous other regulations governing exercise facilities, including:

  1. Require guests or workers to wear Face Coverings except when strenuously exercising,
  2. Space equipment and people to maintain six feet of distance,
  3. Disinfect all shared equipment between users and in accordance with the order, and
  4. Follow “Core Signage, Screening, and Sanitation Requirements” in the Order.

Playgrounds may operate, so long as they follow the above capacity requirements for gyms and fitness facilities.

Other “Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission” concerning face coverings over the nose and mouth, six feet of social distancing, frequent use of hand washing and hand sanitizer, regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home if sick all generally remain in place.

Again, the modifications take effect on Friday, October 2 at 5 pm. The Order provides these Phase 3 restrictions will remain in place through at least 5 pm on October 23, 2020. The full 21 page Executive Order with its many details can be found at Restrictions to Protect Lives During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Phase 3.

For any questions about North or South Carolina regulations or using/opening amenities in your community, contact one of the community association attorneys at any of our four offices.

Author: Jim Slaughter
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from Black, Slaughter, Black.

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