I’ve received a number of inquiries on when we’re going to open the pools, and I wanted to bring everyone up to date on where we are with that right now.
Board members have been meeting regularly to discuss this topic, and we’ve spent considerable time examining the requirements and restrictions for reopening put in place by the governor. We’ve also been in contact with other HOAs in Brunswick County regarding their plans, and we’ve sought guidance from both our insurance agent and attorneys for their opinions. Based on all the information we’ve received to date, I regret to inform you that we will not be opening the MAC pool at this time. We had hoped to have it open by the July 4th weekend, but that will not be possible. Completion of the repairs at the Pink Palace pool continue to be delayed by weather issues, and we don’t know when that pool will be ready for use. However, unless the state restrictions are dramatically reduced, it is doubtful we will have the resources to open both pools this summer.
This decision to not reopen the MAC pool right away was not taken lightly. Our decision was based on the following:
- The number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations due to this virus are increasing in both North and South Carolina, with record numbers of new cases reported the past few days. Since Sea Trail is predominantly a community of senior citizens, the most vulnerable population in the current pandemic, introduction of the virus into our community could be devastating.
- The restrictions set by the State are very extensive, and we do not have the resources to ensure they can all be met all the time. If a complaint for non-compliance was filed against the association or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was to inspect the pool and identify any compliance issues, the association could be fined and the pool closed for an extended amount of time, possibly until the pandemic is declared over.
- Our insurance agent has informed us that any legal action related to COVID-19 falls personally on the board members, because our Director and Officer insurance policies do not cover actions taken during a pandemic. Such coverage is impossible to obtain, because no insurance companies are willing to include infectious disease events in their policies. Based on this, he has advised us not to open the pool until the governor relaxes the current restrictions. Our attorney has given us the same advice.
- The ABCPOA (Alliance of Brunswick County Property Owners Associations) has sent information that of the 20 HOAs they have been in contact with, 9 are not opening their pools at all, 10 are opening at significantly reduced capacity, and one is open for lane swimming only by reservation.
- CAMS, a community management company that has as clients numerous local HOAs and Condo association pools, is reporting that many of their clients who opened their pools when South Carolina relaxed their restrictions are now closing them due to the inability to adequately adhere to the required restrictions.
We will continue to monitor changes in the guidelines and will assess the situation. Our pools are key amenities and keeping them closed is something none of us want to do. We appreciate your support of our decision at this time.
Please continue to enjoy the beauty of Sea Trail and Sunset Beach during this very different summer season! Be Safe!
Jack Phillabaum, STMA President