D.C. Enters Phase 1 Reopening [updated 6/11/20]
DC’s “Reopening” – Phase 1 Summary
Per the Mayor’s Order 2020-067 (“Phase 1 Order”), DC entered “Phase 1” of it reopening process as of Friday, May 29th. That Order will remain in effect no later than July 24, 2020 – a date for Phase 2 reopening has not yet been announced. Below are highlights of important provisions of the Phase 1 Order that may impact community associations, but keep in mind that the provisions of prior Mayor’s Orders concerning COVID-19 continue to apply except where specifically modified or superseded by the Phase 1 Order.
Are your residents still ordered to “stay-at-home”?
No. During Phase 1, individuals living in, working in, and visiting DC are no longer ordered to stay at their residences. However, when leaving their residence, all individuals must continue to maintain a distance of at least six feet from persons not in their household, except if such distance is impossible to maintain.
What is the limit on large gatherings that would be applicable to common areas?
Gatherings of more than 10 individuals are prohibited.
What common area facilities can be open for resident use?
Individuals are no longer prohibited from “lingering” inside a building’s common areas such as lounges, party rooms, rooftops and courtyards. Accordingly, associations can open those areas for resident use, but the six-foot social distancing requirement must be observed when possible. When these areas are opened, we recommend, at a minimum, that seating areas be reconfigured to allow for at least six feet of physical distance between individuals, and that signage reman posted regarding social distancing and steps to reduce the risk of exposure.
Based on the DC Mayor’s published guidance, tennis courts can be open, but swimming pools, playgrounds and gyms and fitness centers are supposed to remain closed.
Are there any special cleaning requirements for the common area facilities?
Under D.C. Council emergency legislation that went into effect on May 27 (and is currently set to expire August 25), during the declared public health emergency, associations must “clean common areas . . . on a regular basis, including surfaces that are regularly touched, such as doors, railings, seating, and the exterior of mailboxes.”
We recommend also following enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols consistent with applicable local and federal guidance, such as guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s guidance can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html.
What are the details regarding future reopening Phases in DC?
We do not yet know, but DC’s “ReOpen DC Advisory Group” has published recommendations. On May 21, the DC Mayor released the recommendations of the Advisory Group’s recommendations – these can be found at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/reopendc. Importantly, however, under the Group’s recommended “ReOpen DC” plan, all public and private pools would have to remain closed for Stage 2. Pools could open during Stage 3 (date undetermined), but even then, they will likely be operated with “limited capacity and safeguards.”
In addition, under the ReOpen DC recommendations, gyms and workout studios would be open during Stage 2 (date undetermined) with limited access (5 persons per 1000 sq. ft, with additional safeguards and required social distancing).
We are encouraging DC community associations to prepare in accordance with the Advisory Group’s recommended plan, as it appears likely the Mayor will endorse most of it in some form.
We will continue keeping our clients apprised of these fast-changing developments.
Federal, state and local responses to COVID-19 are changing quickly. We encourage associations to monitor relevant government websites and this website for further updates.
Legal Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of each case and each association’s governing documents. Also, it is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of all legal considerations, nor should it be used to replace the individualized advice of your legal counsel.