covid-19 pool requirements for community associations

Original article attributed to and used with permission by Hill & Wallack LLP. Written by Loren R. Lightman.

On May 19, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Health issued updated regulations applicable to indoor and outdoor community association pools. The most significant change from prior regulations is that both indoor and outdoor pools are no longer subject to percentage based capacity limits; rather, the regulations require measures are taken to ensure that “patrons or groups of patrons” can maintain a 6-foot distance from other patrons both in and out of the pool which are to be incorporated into the Covid-19 Pool Operation Prevention Plan (CPOPP) submitted by the association to the local health authority.  

So although the 50% capacity limit has been lifted, each pool operator will need to determine how many individuals can utilize the pool at any one time so that individuals from different households are able to socially distance from one another. Pool occupancy levels will be based on that calculation.

The measures necessary to comply with the recommended social distancing requirements  include controlling of crowd flow using visible markings, postings or signage and assigning of separate entry and exit points to encourage users to move in one direction and avoid crowds. The regulations maintain the requirement for a “COVID-19 Point of Contact” who will be responsible for ensuring that all required protocols are being implemented.

Another major change is that individuals are no longer required to wear masks in outdoor settings although unvaccinated people are strongly encouraged to do so and masks are not to be worn in the water. Lifeguards performing lifesaving activities and actively monitoring bathers from their post are not encouraged to wear a mask. The updated regulations also maintain the guidance for pools to maintain procedures for the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces at least daily, so that pools must implement a system to ensure that high-touch areas such as pool rails and restrooms are cleaned at least once per day. 

May 19, 2021 NJ DOH COVID Pool Regulation links:

COVID-19 Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards can be found here.

Health and Safety Standards for Indoor and Outdoor High-Touch Amusement and Recreation Activities can be found here.

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