MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD
COVID 19 / AMENITIES UPDATE
We understand that the residents of Dulles Farms are anxious to have all of our facilities reopened. The Board of Directors for Dulles Farms has been monitoring the ever-changing set of Executive Orders and Reopening Guidelines in an effort to determine the best pathway forward for the reopening of our amenities.
First, we are pleased we have been able to develop a plan to reopen our pools. In doing so, we needed to be cognizant of our obligations to ensure that our facilities are operated in accordance with the current requirements of Virginia. The most recent changes were announced just last week, which has caused us to continue to fine tune our approach. In order to open in accordance with the Governor’s Orders, we are required to ensure that social distancing of both people and furniture is maintained, the high touch surfaces are cleaned daily and that occupancy levels can be maintained to the lesser of 75% of normal occupancy or the maximum number of people that can be in he pool facility and maintain required social distancing. If we fail to do so and someone gets COVID-19 while using our pool, then the Association potentially could be found liable for any damages sustained by such person. While we believe the risk of this occurring is small, the possible financial consequences could be great, as we are unable to obtain insurance for claims arising out of COVID-19 exposure. Consequently, the Board has made the decision to ensure that the pool is operated in accordance with the Governor’s Orders. With the cooperation of our pool contractors, we are able to do so.
The challenges for opening our fitness centers are more difficult. The Executive Order requires us to ensure that each shared piece of equipment is cleaned between each use. When we explored the costs associated with having cleaning staff provide such cleaning, we determined that the costs were prohibitive under our current budget. Moreover, we also have an obligation to limit occupancy to no more than 75 percent of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable, while maintaining a minimum of ten feet of physical distancing between all individuals, and that everyone remain masked when in the facility except when actively exercising. Based on these current requirements, we do not see a way to open the fitness centers without adding staff at both locations. We are hopeful that a number of the current requirements become less stringent in the near future. This will allow the Board to revisit the issue and, hopefully, be able to open our fitness centers.
We have similar challenges with respect to clubhouse rentals. The Executive Orders place the burden on the Association, as the owner of the facilities, to ensure that all people present during a rental comply with the current COVID-19 requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that people wear masks when in the facility, that social distancing is ensured, that occupancy limits are met, that furniture is spaced out at least six feet, and that high contact areas are cleaned. Again, the Board does not believe we can cost-effectively open the clubhouses for rental under our existing budget. We are hopeful that the law will change soon and that we will be in a position to revisit that issue.
To be clear, compliance with the Executive Orders and Reopening Guidelines is not optional. Failure to comply is deemed a misdemeanor under Virginia law, and could subject the Association to heightened liability exposure. As a result, we feel that the Board is duty-bound to ensure that the facilities are reopening in compliance with the executive Orders to ensure that we have met all requirements to provide for the safety of our residents.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through these challenging times.
~ Dulles Farms Board of Directors ~