Attorneys Recommend Keeping Pools, Gyms Closed Concerns Persist About Safety, Liability

In a posting on legal pros website Lexology, New York law firm Cozen O’Connor advises co-ops and condos to keep their gyms and pools closed for the time being, both to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to avoid liability and violations. 

“As New York City begins to open up,” Cozen attorney Leni Morrison Cummins tells The Cooperator, “boards are frequently asking us for guidance on whether they should open their most coveted amenities—gyms and pools. In many cases, residents are pushing boards to open quickly; however, opening now will open boards up to steep fines from the city. Therefore, boards need to do a risk benefit analysis before making a decision, weighing the desires of the residents against the potential fines from NYC.”

Cummins and co-author Jennifer Miller note that the city’s public pools and gyms remain closed by executive order, but that such orders are silent on whether the continued closures pertain to the fitness centers and aquatic amenities that exist in many of New York’s multifamily buildings and communities. 

The attorneys indicate that Governor Andrew Cuomo tasked the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) with providing guidance to businesses on the implications of the executive orders and other state legislation. ESD advised the attorneys that gyms and other common exercise and fitness facilities within private residential settings are still ordered to remain closed. While the ESD’s guidance on private pools is still forthcoming, Cummins and Miller recommend keeping pools closed until further clarification is provided, to avoid the issuance of fines and other violations. 

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