COVID-19 Amenity Closures

Dear Sun Ridge Residents,

The Board worked diligently to review Executive Orders 147 and 153 signed by Governor Murphy pertaining to the reopening of the pool and tennis courts.

The Orders had several strings attached that we needed to evaluate before we considered opening the pool. Specifically:

1. Health & Safety: Above all other factors, your health and safety is our number one concern during this crisis. As such, the Board is tasked with making decisions that protects the health and welfare of all residents. This is a paramount concern and one that weighed heavily in our decision.

2. Liability: After consulting with the Association’s attorney, insurance agent, and Associa, we have determined that reopening the pool and tennis courts unequivocally poses clear liability to the Association and its Board members. Our insurance will not provide COVID liability coverage in the event that someone sues the Association claiming the individual contracted the virus, while using one of our amenities. If this were to happen, we would have to defend the lawsuit using available Association funds and may potentially require imposing a special assessment to all homeowners.

In addition, in order for our pool management company to provide lifeguards on duty, they require a change in our current contract that would provide them indemnification from legal liability. In other words, the SROA would assume any and all liability for COVID claims, even if the source of the claim can be directly attributed to the pool company’s carelessness or negligence stemming from their actions.

3. Expenses:  In addition to the liability risk, there are several additional expenses that we also considered as part of this decision.

The state requires that we hire a certified COVID Ambassador – someone who is licensed by the state to perform the following functions:

  • Enforcing social distancing by requiring residents to keep their distance while using the pool and congregating in the surrounding pool area;
  • Requiring residents wear masks when congregating outside the pool;
  • Regulating the number of people in the pool and restrooms simultaneously.  Moreover, there may be additional limitations on the number of people permitted in the pool area due to homeowner appointments to use the pool and to schedule “downtime” to insure proper sanitizing of these areas.

Since Sun Ridge’s COVID-19 permitted usage is 166 for the main pool and 11 for the kiddie pool, we would be required to have two ambassadors on duty.  The total cost for two ambassadors to service the pool would be an additional $2,772 plus tax per week.

However, even if we hired the two ambassadors, their ability to enforce all these rules are limited. Even if we were to hire security personnel at an additional average daily cost of $25-$30 per guard/per hour to enforce the new rules, we considered whether:

  • Residents would adhere to the rules in a uniform manner, or
  • Reasonable efforts to enforce the rules could potentially result in altercations and further jeopardize the safety to our other residents, hired staff, and the Association

In addition to the COVID ambassadors, the Association would be required to hire a cleaning company on a daily basis at an additional cost $2,838 plus tax per week to “frequently” clean all touch surfaces such as handrails, gate handles, door knobs and restrooms.

Lastly, the Association would also be required to purchase the hand sanitizing stations at a total additional cost of $2,810 plus the cost of obtaining social distancing/hand washing signs for each of the pool and tennis court areas.

In light of all the information summarized above, the Board unanimously votes to close the pool and tennis courts for the rest of the season.

Furthermore, the playgrounds and clubhouse will continue to remain closed until further notice.

While we made our decision completely independent of what other Associations have elected to do, we realize some of you might reasonably be curious about what nearby communities have opted to do regarding their pools.

For reference, nearby HOA communities, including Stonegate, Concord Ridge, and Flemington South have all opted to close their pools for the entire season.

Refunds/Savings: During the shutdown, the Association has saved money on electric and gas with the heat and air conditioning turned off in the clubhouse, and we will certainly save money on not having to pay for lifeguards. However, please understand we still have to pay to keep the pool maintained.

Therefore, we will consider providing a credit to each homeowner during the 2021 budget analysis based on the unused portion of the funds earmarked for the servicing of the pool, playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts.

We cannot emphasize enough that we carefully considered all facts before we reached our final decision.

Please stay safe!

Respectfully,

The HOA Board of Sun Ridge