May 28, 2020
Pocono Ranch Lands is committed to the safety and well-being of our residents, guests and staff. The Board of Directors and Management has made the difficult decision not to open the Section 1 and Section 3 pools for the 2020 Summer Season due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions as Pike County moves into the Yellow Phase and Green Phase of the Governor’s re-opening process.
A risk-benefit analysis was reviewed very closely before this decision was made and we understand how disappointing it is. The pools and snack bar at Pocono Ranch Lands will not open this season. Although we’ve prepared them, we believe the risk to use them is still too great, and the cost to allow them to run until we may be able to use them risk-free, is not beneficial.
The CDC guidelines severely limit the usage of the pools, only allowing 25 persons in the pool area at one time, this number includes the lifeguards on duty. The disinfectant/mitigation guidelines are too difficult to execute, and it will cause a financial burden on the Association but without it, human safety is compromised. There was also discussion for the safety of the lifeguards; should they be required to administer lifesaving measures; there is no way to avoid person to person exposure.
Our insurance provider and legal counsel have made it very clear that any claims of exposure or illness brought against the Association, from persons claiming they were exposed or became ill while using our facilities, are not covered. Neither a disclaimer nor a waiver would sufficiently protect the Association and the cost of defending such a case could be thousands of dollars beyond anything we’re prepared for. Therefore, the pools and snack bar will be closed for the season. Please understand that this will continue even throughout the Green Phase of the state’s re-opening plan as even in the Green Phase there are still many restrictions.
The playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball courts will be open as of Friday, May 29, 2020 in the Yellow Phase. Members are urged to continue to use personal protection equipment when in contact with others, wash hands and children’s hands frequently and continue to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet or more.
The stables continue to be closed and may continue to be closed until Pike County enters the Green Phase of the Governor’s reopening process. The Board and Management are reviewing the safety of disinfectant/mitigation guidelines before a decision is made to open.
Please review the following links to the CDC Guidelines for parks and recreation, as well as the Governor’s process to re-open Pennsylvania for the detailed information on the restrictions.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Does the Board of Directors have the authority to close an amenity like the pools?
A: Yes, the Board of Directors has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the entire Association as well as the safety and welfare of the membership.
Q: Can members file a lawsuit against the Association and Board of Directors for closing an amenity like the pools?
A: Refer to the question above; the Board of Directors has the authority to take action to protect the Association and the Membership. Should members file suit, Section 7 of the Pocono Ranch Lands Bylaws state: In the event that a community member should institute legal proceedings against the Association challenging the Association corporate actions unsuccessfully, then the community member shall be liable and responsible for the costs and expenses of the community incurred as a result of said unsuccessful challenge, including, but not limited to, reasonable attorney’s fees.
Q: Do members have to pay dues if they can’t use the amenities?
A: Yes, the financial responsibility to continue to maintain the amenities exists even when they can’t be used.
Q: Do members get a refund if they can’t use the amenities?
A: No, however, if there is a surplus in the budget at the end of the fiscal year, it is applied to the future budget.
Q: The CDC Guidelines are recommendations on the best practices for safety, they are not mandated or laws. Does the Association have to comply with the guidelines?
A: The short answer is no. However, if the Association doesn’t comply with the CDC Guidelines it increases the risk of liability for the Association to be sued and put members at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Q: What are the CDC Guidelines?
A: The full document specific to pools can be found using this link
The items within the guidelines that are overwhelming to execute effectively which lead to the decision to close the for the season; lifeguards cannot be compliance monitors; a designated COVID-19 Point of Contact must be available 24 hours and an onsite compliance monitor with the ability to perform temperature screenings; all requires additional staff. Cleaning and disinfecting shared contact surfaces after each use; this would require additional non-lifeguard staff to apply disinfectant to every ladder grab bar, the entire diving board, the entire pool slide, the entrance gate and the bathroom door handle every time someone touched it; all requires additional staff and the disinfectant material.