Letter to CDPH on Exemption for HOA Pools

Mark T. Guithues, Esq.
Laurie F. Masotto, Esq.
Michael J. Alti, Esq.
Mark Allen Wilson, Esq.
Jeffrey W. Speights, Esq.
Tracy Linkowski, Esq.

         Please Respond To: Oceanside Office


May 29, 2020

California Department of Public Health
PO Box 997377, MS 0500
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377

Michael Rainville, General Counsel
California Department of Public Health – OLS
1415 L Street, Suite 500
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re:     Opening Homeowner Association Pools in California

Dear Representative of the CDPH and Mr. Rainville:

Our firm represents hundreds of homeowner associations throughout Southern California.  The purpose of this letter is to memorialize discussions we had with Chandra, a Supervisor at the CDPH COVID-19 Information Line, during which she confirmed that homeowner association pools are now permitted to open and operate in California in accordance with applicable local regulations.

Background.  During discussions held with Chandra on May 27 and May 28, 2020, we explained a conflict caused by the CDPH website (https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/), which currently states, “The following sectors, businesses, establishments, or activities are not permitted to operate in the State of California at this time: … Community centers, including public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas.”  Section 65503 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations includes homeowner association pools and condominium pools within the definition of “public pools.”

Despite this supposedly clear directive, various counties throughout California have been allowing homeowner associations within their jurisdiction to reopen their pools.  These include Los Angeles County,[1] Mendocino County,[2] Napa County,[3] Riverside County,[4] and San Bernardino County.[5]   As explained to Chandra, the conflict between the CDPH Order and the local guidelines has generated tremendous confusion among residential communities trying to “do the right thing.”  We commend Chandra for very well understanding this conflict and taking the initiative to address it.

Confirmation on Reopening Pools.  During our second discussion on May 28, Chandra confirmed that she engaged in research about this conflict.  She shared that the CDC itself states that homeowner association pools may be operated in accordance with local guidelines.[6]  Most importantly, Chandra confirmed that the State Order (https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/) is not intended to prohibit the opening or operating of homeowner association pools in California.  Chandra confirmed that homeowner association pools may operate in California in accordance with the requirements of their local jurisdiction, and she said that we can “quote her” on that.

The CDPH’s COVID-19 website should be updated to reflect this very clear information.  Chandra said that she would be working with her supervisors to update the website to expressly exempt homeowner association pools from the State Order (similar to what Los Angeles County has done in allowing homeowner association pools to open).

Current Status.  Millions of residents of thousands of homeowner associations throughout California have been anxiously awaiting the reopening of their pools and seeking clarity from their government.  We are relying on the information provided by Chandra, and now immediately advising our homeowner clients to consider reopening their pools in accordance with their applicable County and City guidelines, while ignoring the incorrect and outdated information about pools currently shown on the CDPH COVID-19 website.

Please advise us immediately if this information is incorrect. I may be reached via email at michael@attorneyforhoa.com or on my cellphone at 310-613-8482.

Best regards,


Michael J. Alti, Esq.


[2] https://www.mendocinocounty.org/home/showdocument?id=35664

[3] https://www.countyofnapa.org/DocumentCenter/View/17112/Shelter-at-Home-Order-4-22-2020–?bidId=

[4] https://www.rivcoph.org/Portals/0/Documents/CoronaVirus/May/News/5.6.20%20pool%20guidelines%20news%20release.pdf?ver=2020-05-06-154326-803&timestamp=1588805036539

[5] https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/CASANBE/2020/05/26/file_attachments/1459535/COVID-19%20Pools%20and%20Spas%20Reopening.pdf

[6] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/parks-rec/aquatic-venues.html