Speechless! CDPH Reverses Twice in one Week! Pools May Not Operate Per the CDPH

Our firm understands that many of our clients are eager to open their pools, and we have been working hard to provide you clarity because of all the confusion generated by the conflicting information the State Department of Public Health (CDPH) and some counties are providing.   We are disappointed to share with you this new development regarding HOA pools.

We were really pleased to share with you earlier this week an email from CDPH attorney Peter Sapunor, who clearly stated that “individual counties can obtain the State’s approval to permit the operation of public pools, including HOA pools, during the current Phase Two of the Pandemic response.”  He specifically cited Santa Barbara County as an example of a county that has received such approval from the State.  Mr. Sapunor has been an attorney in California for more than 30 years and was well aware of the nature of our inquiry, so we thought that we could rely on his statements.  Besides sharing his email with you, we even spent some time researching Santa Barbara County standards, so we could better understand and communicate the safety standards acceptable to the CDPH.

So it is just mind-blowing that two days later, Mr. Sapunor emailed us that his earlier statements were wrong, and that “public pools (including HOA pools) are not permitted to operate in Stage Two, in any county.”  He also said that he was incorrect in mentioning Santa Barbara County, since it never received State approval to allow the opening of public pools (including HOA pools).

We don’t understand how the CDPH could have made such a mistake, and we are as frustrated as you are with all this.  This is CDPH’s second reversal on a rather straightforward question this week.  And it means that the conflict continues.  Many counties (such as Riverside and Los Angeles) are not enforcing or abiding by the State Order (https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/), and are allowing HOA pools to open.  So, we return to our earlier discussion, that if a community elects to open its pools in accordance with its County Guidelines, there is still some risk of liability for not complying with the State Order.

Please contact Governor Gavin Newsom via e-mail at:   https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/  and tell him that we need clear standards and that the CDPH needs to defer to local guidance regarding the opening of community pools.

Community Legal Advisors Inc.

Michael Alti, Esq.