July 2, 2020
To All GSAC Member Associations:
It has been less than a week since I last wrote to you, but in that time frame, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases involving Collier County residents has increased by nearly 25%, from 3527 to 4290. Although the majority of the cases are in the postal zip codes for East Naples, Golden Gate and Immokalee (2184), the cases in 34103 are now 49, nearly four times the level at which they remained during the first three months of the pandemic, when the number stayed in the low teens.
Given the demographics in our immediate area, the state-wide statistics are particularly concerning. While residents 65+ years of age represent 16% of the cases, they account for 51% of the hospitalizations and 85% of the fatalities.
So I am very appreciative of those of you who, in response to my June 26 letter, provided me with the regulations you currently have in place in your buildings. I have read all of your submissions, and it would appear that, while some of you lessened the restrictions somewhat in the first part of June, in general you are all continuing to exercise your emergency powers under the applicable Florida statute and/or the emergency powers provision of your Association’s By-laws.
It seems that pools, spas, social rooms and gyms are now typically open, but with restrictions on occupancy (for example, limiting usage to owners, lessees and sometimes family members, restricting the number of occupants, and universally requiring social distancing). For gyms, some are mandating the use of a sign-up sheet specifying a designated time for usage; some are permitting personal trainers to work with their clients, while others are allowing only physical therapists on the premises.
Essentially across the board, Member Associations are requiring any third parties who enter the building to wear face-masks and gloves. Cleaning people, home watch personnel and service contractors are not allowed to occupy an elevator with a resident, and some buildings have required them to use designated service elevators. A common restriction is to limit the number of cleaning people or service contractors allowed in a unit. Another frequent restriction is that no common area bathroom facilities can be used by service workers.
In most instances, the office is now open, but with social distancing required. Realtors and their clients are generally being allowed into the building, but the group is typically restricted to not more than four and with no or very limited access to common areas. Guest suites generally remain closed, although some are open to immediate family members with restrictions (e.g., on travel within the previous fourteen days).
Most buildings now appear to be permitting immediate family members to stay in owners’ units, but, if they admit them at all, are continuing to prohibit non-family guests from remaining overnight. Some limit their use of common facilities (particularly the gym), while others have relaxed those restrictions because of low occupancy.
In a few instances, buildings are requiring all occupants to sign a waiver of risk releasing the Association from legal liability before they are permitted to use any common amenities and facilities, but this does not appear to be a common practice.
As we all know, this health emergency is far from over. Although the Governor’s Executive Order 20-114, declaring a state of emergency for the entire state, is scheduled to expire on July 7, it is highly probable that it will again be extended.