Governor Northam announced this week that all of Virginia, including Alexandria, will move into Phase 3 of reopening on July 1. As discussed at length at last week’s Board meeting, the Board has been working diligently to determine what the Phase 3 guidelines will mean for our community’s pool, gym, and other facilities, and we wanted to let residents know where we’re at.
Pool: In Phase 3 swimming pools are allowed to operate in accordance with the mandatory requirements as set forth in the Governor’s Phase 3 guidelines. The specific requirements that pose compliance challenges are: 1) patrons from different families must stay 10 feet apart; and 2) having cleaning staff to ensure enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices. Our pool is small, which makes complying with #1 difficult, and the company that maintains our pool has told us they are unable to provide enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, which makes #2 particularly problematic. We specifically asked if the pool company could hire a second lifeguard to assist with these compliance issues, but they are understaffed due to COVID-19 and are struggling to provide even the minimum number of staff. We don’t know of practical ways to address these two requirements so for now the Board doesn’t plan to reopen the pool during Phase 3.
Gym: The challenge to opening the gym is similar to opening the pool in that there are mandatory requirements that pose compliance challenges to ensure the gym is as safe as possible. Namely, 1) all equipment would need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use, 2) equipment would have to be placed 10 feet apart, and 3) gym-goers would need to maintain 10 feet between each other. The size of our gym makes the 10-foot separation mandate difficult for patrons and impossible for equipment, the burden of cleaning the equipment would fall to patrons, and we are unable to comply with the enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices. For these reasons, the Board doesn’t plan to reopen the gym during Phase 3.
Metro shuttle: Per WMATA’s guidance for Metro use, the Metro remains open for “essential travel only,” and the public is encouraged to stay at home whenever possible, in accordance with current executive orders and guidance in effect throughout the region. As discussed at last week’s Board meeting, given that people are still being encouraged to work from home and avoid mass transit, the Board has no plans, for now, to restart shuttle service.
Please know that the Board is eager to reopen the gym and pool when we’re able to comply with the Governor’s guidelines. We know residents want to use these facilities, especially as we move further into summer, and we hoped that Phase 3 would entail guidance we could comply with to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents. Unfortunately we’ve learned that’s not the case, and we’re now hoping that provisions in Phase 4 will allow us to open our facilities.
In the meantime, if any resident would like to present and discuss detailed options for community volunteers to assist with safely and practicably allowing access to the pool and the gym, please email the Board via Christie Beruete at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re open to suggestions with the caveat that our HOA’s attorneys and insurance company would also need to provide feedback on the proposals.
We’ll continue to keep you posted on our evolving efforts to keep neighbors safe throughout VA’s reopening.
The PG HOA Board