COVID-19 Update: What the New Phase 2.5 Means for NC HOAs and Condos

While not yet Phase 3, NC Governor Roy Cooper has announced that this Friday, September 4 at 5 pm the State will move to “Phase 2.5” with regards to coronavirus restrictions. Some restrictions will remain in place, but others have been loosened.

Executive Order #163 covers a host of businesses and activities, but here are some highlights for North Carolina homeowner and condominium associations:

Restrictions on gatherings have been loosened. Executive Order #141 issued on May 20 limited indoor gatherings to ten (10) people and outdoor gatherings to twenty-five (25) people. Executive Order #163 increases these numbers to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors “at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, or meeting hall.” Such requirements should be taken into account when planning any association in-person membership or board meeting.

Indoor or outdoor pool facilities (whether stand-alone or part of other facilities) may operate, but must:

  1. Limit user capacity in the pool to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy as determined by fire code (or, when the fire code number is not known, 33 people per 1000 square feet in deck areas, wading pools and splash pads) and a maximum occupancy in the water of 10 people per 1000 square feet (the “Emergency Maximum Occupancy for the facility), and
  2. Follow “Core Signage, Screening, and Sanitation Requirements” in the Order.

Gyms, fitness and exercise facilities may open, but must limit “customers” (NOTE: the word “customers” in the Order was subsequently changed to “guests”) in indoor areas to 30% Emergency Maximum Occupancy, which is the lowest number produced by applying the following two tests: (a) Limit the number of guests in the facility to 30% of the stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than 7 guests for every 1000 square feet of the location’s total square footage including parts that are not accessible to guests); (b) Limit the number of people in any given room of the facility so that everyone can stay 6 feet apart. For outdoor areas the guests must be limited to the lowest of: (a) the outdoor Mass Gathering limit of 50 people, (b) 12 guests for every 1000 square feet, or (c) the number that allows everyone to stay 6 feet apart.

There are numerous other regulations governing exercise facilities, including:

  1. Require guests or workers to wear Face Coverings except when strenuously exercising,
  2. Space equipment and people to maintain six feet of distance,
  3. Disinfect all shared equipment between users and in accordance with the order, and
  4. Follow “Core Signage, Screening, and Sanitation Requirements” in the Order.

Playgrounds may resume operations, so long as they follow the above capacity requirements for gyms and fitness facilities.

Other “Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission” concerning face coverings, social distancing, and frequent use of hand washing and hand sanitizer generally remain in place.

Again, the modifications take effect on Friday, September 4 at 5 pm. The Order provides these Phase 2.5 restrictions will remain in place through at least 5 pm on October 2, 2020. The full 22 page Executive Order with its many details can be found at Revised Prohibitions and Restrictions to Protect Lives in Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

For any questions about North or South Carolina regulations or using/opening amenities in your community, contact one of the community association attorneys at any of our four offices.

HOA & Condo Associations