On January 12th, Mecklenburg County’s Public Health Director issued a directive that people in Mecklenburg County should: only leave the home for essential activities; use virtual options for school, work and other activities where in-person activities are not required; utilize delivery services for food or groceries; avoid any recreational activities involving close contact with others; remain at home between 10 PM and 5 AM.
The directive also says that people should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked or where people are not socially distanced. The Health Director says that there should be no gatherings other than with people you live with, and if gatherings are unavoidable, they should be outside and limited to no greater than 25 people.
HOAs and condos will recall that many of the requirements are reminiscent of Governor Cooper’s Executive Orders from the beginning of the COVID crisis. Given the rapidly rising numbers of COVID cases and the diminishing number of available hospital beds, we recommend that HOAs and condo associations follow the directive. This means that HOAs and condos should prohibit clubhouse rentals or the use of fitness centers or other amenities; they should limit the number of people who can be present in confined spaces (including elevators) and residents should be strongly encouraged to wear masks. There should be no in-person meetings.
Some may question the enforceability of the directive, or whether it is merely suggestive rather than mandatory (for example, nowhere do the words “shall” or “shall not” appear in the directive, and instead, words like “should not” and “avoid” are used). A better approach may be to see the directive for what it is: A public official sworn to protect the health of Mecklenburg County citizens pleading for people to “answer the call”.
We recognize that everyone is COVID-weary (ourselves included), but we should not let our collective guard down. A copy of the directive is enclosed for consideration.
ABOUT BEN KARB
In his HOA and condominium practice, Ben regularly advises HOAs and condominium associations across a broad spectrum of issues, including the interpretation of covenants, contractual matters, and collection of assessments. He routinely attends membership meetings and assists communities with the ever-difficult process of amending their governing documents. He has formed numerous HOAs and condominium associations, and regularly drafts and amends Declarations and corporate documents for his clients.
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