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Is it Time to Reopen Condo Pools and Gyms?

In a press release issued yesterday, Ontario has announced that it was lifting more of the covid restrictions affecting CondoLand.

We have a more recent post on the topic.

Don’t miss the return of our Webinars.  Next webinar Wedn. Sept 9 @5pm. Get a comprehensive update on the COVID situation in CondoLand. Registration, speakers and topics here.

Moving onto Stage 2 of reopening

Effective Friday June 12, many areas of Ontario will move to “Stage 2” of reopening the province. These areas include:

  • Eastern Ontario
  • Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox
  • North Bay Parry Sound District
  • Peterborough
  • Region of Waterloo
  • Sudbury
  • Thunderbay
  • and many more

In fact, pretty much all of Ontario except the GTA and the Golden Horseshoe are moving onto Stage 2.

What is Phase 2?

In Stage 2, additional restrictions are being loosened, while emphasizing public health advice.  More businesses and services are permitted to open, as well as some community, recreational and outdoor spaces. You can read more about Stage 2 here.

Increase limit on social gathering

Across the province (so not just Stage 2 areas), the limit on social gathering is being increased from five to 10 people.  This should allow most board and managers to meet in person (should they chose to do so), but no in-person AGMs (except for micro condos).

Reopening of additional Business and services

Many businesses and services are permitted to reopen in Stage 2 areas, including the following, which we highlight as they may have an impact on condos.

  • Outdoor patios (think rooftop terraces, patios, communal BBQs);
  • All swimming pools (indoor outdoor);
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities, with limits to enable physical distancing (think of tennis courts, gardens, etc);
  • Barber shops and hair salons. This one has nothing to do with condos but it’s near and dear to my heart…

Fitness rooms?

In our view, indoor gyms and fitness rooms must remain closed.  As long as these remain closed in public settings (such as your local gym), there is no reason, in our view, to re-open them in condos.  You should consult with your condo lawyer if you are thinking of reopening them.

Having said that, now may be the right time to start thinking about the precautions you will put in place when you do reopen them:

  • Will you reduce the number of users at any given time?
  • Will you implement social-distancing barriers or reminders?
  • Will you implement new schedule protocols? (Have you thought of online application to reserve your spot?)

Pool reopening

While all pools are allowed to open in Stage 2 areas, there are number of precautions that ought to be taken prior to allowing swimmers to return.  For instance,  if your condominium has 6 or more dwelling units, your pool is considered a “Class B” pool under the Public Pools Regulation of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Under this Regulation, if a Class B pool has been closed for more than four weeks, the owner or operator of the pool (AKA, the condominium), must notify public health in writing when it intends to reopen the pool.

In addition, it is always useful to check out what your municipality is recommending. See for instance these useful reminders from Ottawa’s Public Health Office.

Similar restrictions and precautions apply in Toronto, Hamilton, and likely across Ontario.

It is also very important to note that the fact the province allows pools to open does not mean that condo have an obligation to open them. Each corporation should look into the specific set up, layout and particularities of their community when deciding to open (or not) their pool.

Let’s continue to cautiously reopen CondoLand without putting our communities at risk.

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