Here is another update from our attorney. Please read these updates, I think they give a better understanding of what we and communities like us are facing. This is new ground for everyone.
Good morning, everyone.
The Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard was updated about 30 minutes ago. We now have 2,355 confirmed cases—which is an increase of almost 400 new cases overnight. I’m posting the link to that map here for your reference and you’ll note there are several other tabs at the bottom of the map that can provide you with a lot of additional information on testing, a county by county analysis and US and worldwide statistics:
At this point, it appears that most of the resident-owned communities have closed their clubhouses and pools. There are one or two community associations relying on their residents to self-enforce a “ten person only” limit in the pool and pool area. It appears that the laundry rooms in many if not most communities are remaining open with notices being posted in regards to the importance of following the CDC guidelines and using common sense and proper hygiene when in the laundry room area.
Several communities are struggling with questions of whether and how to provide notice to residents if and when the manager or board become aware that someone in the community has tested positive for COVID-19. My thought is that the board should notify the residents of the positive test but not identify the person testing positive unless and until that resident consents in writing to being identified.
The other issue that’s been raised by a number of communities in the past two or three days is how to respond to visitors and guests—even those who are family residents and guests. I know of at least one ungated community where signs have been ordered and will be placed at all of its entrances advising that guests and visitors are not allowed during this pandemic. While I think enforcing any rule prohibiting guests and visitors would be very difficult in most situations, a strongly worded letter/email sent to all residents and posted in conspicuous places in the community makes sense. The residents need to keep in mind that every person entering the community is a potential carrier of the COVID-19 virus and thus poses a potential threat of infecting others. We make it much more difficult to achieve the goal of “flattening the curve”– and providing our hospitals and health care professionals with the breathing room needed to minimize the damage to our communities that this pandemic will cause—each time we bring another potential carrier of the virus into our respective communities.
Obviously, each community has its own specific issues and, like all of you, community association lawyers are dealing with unique and first-time questions on what seems to be a minute by minute basis. You’ll want to consult with your community’s legal counsel in regards to those specific issues.
I’ll leave you until my next update with the CDC guidelines on the symptoms to look for with COVID-19 and the hope that all of you will continue to stay safe, stay healthy, and that we get through this pandemic together.
Here’s that CDC site: