Beaumont Tashjian Law Blog

Monday, March 8, 2021

Moving from the Red Tier to the Orange Tier: What you Need to Know - By: Tawnza Sofranko, Esq.

As you likely know, COVID-19 cases are on the decline and, as a result, many counties are quickly moving through the State’s Red Tier and into the Orange Tier. The Red and Orange Tiers allow for lifting/relaxing of certain restrictions based on reduced infections, ongoing vaccinations throughout the county, etc. As the case has been throughout the pandemic, homeowners’ associations are not necessarily mentioned in State and county orders. So, what do the Red and Orange Tiers mean for common interest developments?

At the outset, know that the State still provides that telework is encouraged to the extent possible. Thus, it is recommended that executive session and open board meetings continue to be conducted over Zoom/video conference until restrictions are further relaxed and/or the State provides guidance allowing for gatherings of more than three (3) households. Facial coverings should also continue to be required while moving through common areas, as required at both the State and county levels.

With regard to reopening any of the association’s common area facilities, the board should evaluate the current county and State orders before doing so. If the board decides to open any/all facilities, it should implement and/or revise the operating rules to ensure compliance with the State guidelines and increase the likelihood of social distancing among users. We also continue to recommend that users be required to sign waivers prior to use of the facilities (whether indoor or outdoor).

Swimming Pools

With regard to swimming pools, all outdoor swimming pools may open and must operate in accordance with the State’s industry guidance for pools, which can be found here: https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-fitness--en.pdf.

The Red Tier requires that indoor pools, if any, remain closed. On the other hand, counties in the Orange Tier may reopen indoor pools, subject to the same protocols referenced above.

For both the Red and Orange Tiers, saunas, steam rooms, and indoor hot tubs must remain closed, while outdoor spas are still limited to one (1) household at a time. Please also be sure to check your local county guidance to ensure there are no additional protocols for pool operations.

Fitness Centers/Gyms

Counties in the Red Tier may also reopen fitness facilities on a very limited basis. The indoor occupancy of gyms and fitness facilities is limited to ten percent (10%) capacity. In the Orange Tier, the State provides that fitness facilities/gyms may be open for indoor operations, increasing the maximum indoor occupancy from 10% to 25%.

The association must, prior to reopening for indoor operations, review, prepare, implement and post the required protocols (see link above) as recommended by the State. Again, boards should also review and adhere to any county orders or guidance as well.

Vaccine Protocols

Finally, some counties are starting to “allow” certain activities for those individuals who are fully vaccinated. For example, Los Angeles County “allows” those who are fully vaccinated to engage indoors at a private residence without masks or physical distancing. It is unclear how these mandates could be enforced, but regardless, it is not recommended that the association conditions use of the common area amenities on proof of vaccination. This action could expose the association to unnecessary risk of liability, as the governing documents likely do not provide the board with the authority or power to do so, and such a restriction could lead to claims of discrimination, among other legal challenges.

Nonetheless, the board should continue to monitor federal, state and local orders regarding common area facilities and consider adjusting and/or lifting the common area rules, as needed, to remain in line with applicable county and State orders.

With the advice of legal counsel and upon the recommendations of public health officials, the board can determine which, if any, of the foregoing procedures are necessary and practicable to implement, based upon your community's unique needs.

 

BT Event Highlights

Happy Saint Baldrick’s!

Beaumont Tashjian proudly donated to St. Baldrick's Foundation via The Trilogy Fights Childhood Cancer Event. St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer and donor powered charity committed to supporting the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Rochelle Williams, community manager at The Triology, and 11 others volunteered themselves to be a shavee at event on March 17th. 

The event was a huge success and they raised over $104,000! The Trilogy donation page remains live for the rest of the year. If you are interested in making a donation please click the link below:

https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/Rochelle21



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