Dear Snowden Overlook Residents:
At its August 23, 2021 meeting, the SOCA board of directors reviewed the most recent information concerning the pandemic and its existing policy recommending the wearing of masks in the clubhouse. One of the key indicators employed by CDC, Maryland, Howard County and SOCA is the rate of community transmission of the virus. CDC measures this by either the number of new infection cases per 100,000 population over 7 days or the positivity rate on tests performed over that period, whichever is worse. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, this measure has continued to rise nationally, in Maryland, and in Howard County. Howard County has recently risen to the “substantial” category of spread and has continued to rise. CDC recommends that, in areas with substantial or high rates, all persons, including the fully-vaccinated, wear masks indoors in public spaces to protect both themselves and others. About two weeks ago, SOCA added its recommendation for those inside the clubhouse. Since then, we’ve observed that this recommendation was not always followed. Indeed, it has become clear that following the recommendation is a real challenge, if not impossible, if eating or drinking is permitted in the same indoor space. Regrettably, as a result, the board decided to change the recommendation to the following requirement:
MASKS MUST BE WORN OVER MOUTH AND NOSE CONTINUOUSLY BY ANYONE INSIDE THE CLUBHOUSE, AND NO EATING OR DRINKING IS PERMITTED INSIDE THE CLUBHOUSE, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.
[NOTE: This policy does not require masking on the outside areas of the clubhouse, including the awning and deck areas of the upper level and the pool deck.]
We hope this policy will be temporary and will be watching statistics on the spread of the virus, government guidance, and our own behavior in determining future changes to the policy.
Unfortunately, this policy will alter the nature of some of the services and events at the clubhouse. The changes will include:
– Indoor dining events will not be held. We will try to develop alternatives, so stay tuned.
– The coffee service will, at least initially, remain in operation. But beverages must be taken out of the clubhouse before consumption.
We currently see no need to alter existing pool rules.
The clubhouse staff (and others designated by the board), will ask any person inside the clubhouse not complying with policy by wearing a mask properly, or not wearing an orange wristband, to comply or leave. If that does not work, they will report the incident in detail to the board for possible further action. Our hope is that, with masking, the clubhouse can remain available for your enjoyment. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us to maintain the health and welfare of our wonderful community.
Please comply and be safe. With a little luck, these new restrictions could be relaxed as conditions change.
Snowden Overlook Residents:
We are pleased to announce that our gym will reopen for resident use starting Thursday, July 15.
While the pandemic is not over, relevant numbers are down encouragingly, both nationally and, especially, locally. Still, it is our judgment that some caution remains prudent. As a result, the gym will open with what we hope are temporary additional restrictions that were not in place prior to the pandemic. These requirements include:
- Capacity. No more than 5 residents may be in the gym at once, with time limits when any residents are waiting to use the gym.
- Distancing. Residents must maintain roughly a 6 foot distance from other users. This is especially important when exercise entails heavy breathing, as on cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bikes. On that equipment, in particular, users may not use a machine that is adjacent to another in use.
- Masking. All residents who are not fully vaccinated, or who are otherwise especially vulnerable to infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus, are required to wear masks while in the gym.
- Signing in and out. This will assist the Gym Committee in assessing compliance with these requirements and in making recommendations to the board. Video recordings of activity may also be used.
See more detailed temporary additional rules below. These will be reconsidered as experience is gained and circumstances change.
Finally, the gym door to the clubhouse will be reprogrammed to open for users from
6 AM to 11 PM. We look forward to seeing you at the gym.
TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL GYM RULES (UPDATED 7/26/21):
THE GYM IS A MASK-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT
Hours: 6 AM to 11 PM, every day.
Residents only. No guests, no personal trainers, no children.
Maximum persons in gym at once: 5
First-come, first admitted.
Complete sign-in and sign-out form in gym.
If 5 users are in gym when you arrive, open door and announce that you are waiting. Wait elsewhere.
Once a waiting user has announced their presence, current users must depart when they have been there for one hour since their own arrival. Compliance will be assessed via video recording of gym.
When possible, stay socially distanced from other gym users who are not your housemates, (at least 6 feet.) This is especially important when exercise entails heavy breathing, as on cardio equipment such as treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bikes. On that equipment, in particular, users may not use a machine that is adjacent to another in use by someone not their housemate.
If you are not fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19, or if you are otherwise especially vulnerable to infection, use of a mask over nose and mouth is required while in the gym.
Use sanitizing wipes on touched surfaces of each piece of gym equipment before and immediately after use. Wash hands regularly.
Earlier, permanent gym and clubhouse rules that do not conflict with these are also to be followed, including the requirement to sign the SOCA liability waiver and wear a wristband indicating that you have done so.
Do not use the gym if you have COVID-like symptoms.
Report rule infractions to office.
(Adopted by SOCA Board of Directors on 7/26/2021, effective immediately.)
Dear Snowden Overlook Residents:
Good news! Given the high rate of vaccination in the U.S., the changes in federal, MD and County guidance, and the continuing decline in virus infection case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths, SOCA, in consultation with legal counsel, has scheduled the beginning of the gradual reopening of our clubhouse for Thursday, May 20 at 9 AM. The ultimate goal, of course, is the complete reopening of the clubhouse as requirements, conditions and experience allow.
For the foreseeable future, we will be requiring a signed liability waiver for every resident wishing to enter the clubhouse for anything other than briefly transacting business at the office. An ORANGE WRISTBAND indicating that you have signed the waiver will be issued and MUST BE WORN TO USE THE CLUBHOUSE. This has been a requirement for use of the pool since last summer and, more recently, to use the upper deck. Those of you who have already signed the waiver and received an orange wristband need do nothing further. But if you have not signed a waiver and wish to use the pool, attend clubhouse events, or even enter the clubhouse, please visit the office to sign the waiver and receive a wristband. (The office is open 9 to 5 on non-holiday weekdays.) A supply of the waiver forms is available outside and to the left of the clubhouse front door. It is also available at snowdenoverlook.com by clicking on “ASSUMPTION OF RISK LIABILITY WAIVER RELEASE COVID-19” in the blue box on the left of the home screen. NO GUESTS will be permitted in the clubhouse without special authorization by the board. These requirements are intended to protect SOCA, and, by extension, all unit owners in Snowden Overlook.
We will start with a trial period of restoring most clubhouse activities. We will use this period to learn which approaches work best in protecting all of our residents and to work out procedures for activities not yet restarted. In preparation, we are working now to increase the clubhouse cleaning schedule to help protect all users and staff. In addition, we may open windows and run HVAC fans continuously to promote ventilation during larger indoor events. If this practice is likely to make you uncomfortable, you may wish to dress accordingly or avoid attending such events.
Masks – The governor lifted many requirements for masking effective May 15. In addition, CDC, in a 5/13/2021 update to its guidance, loosened its recommendations for use of masks by the fully-vaccinated. At this time, however, SOCA suggests that masks be worn in the clubhouse when you are not actively eating or drinking. IF YOU ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND, IN KEEPING WITH CDC GUIDANCE, THAT YOU WEAR A MASK, WHEN SAFE AND FEASIBLE, IF YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND INDOOR SOCA EVENTS OR FACILITIES.
Pool Rules – The Maryland Department of Health just issued an order which may permit changes to our current pool rules. We have requested advice from SOCA’s attorney, so stay tuned. But in the meantime, and until further notice, the existing pool rules will be followed. That includes limiting use to residents only (no guests) and prohibiting the use of SOCA pool furniture. We will also continue to limit the number of users in the pool or on the pool deck. These policies are designed to keep us consistent with current CDC guidance on the coronavirus in swimming pool settings, last updated 2/1/2021.
WHAT IS BEING NEWLY OPENED: Major SOCA-sponsored events will be resumed as soon as possible. These will likely include Grill‘nChill and other traditional SOCA events. There will likely be some changes, however, to reduce the number of items handled by multiple persons to limit possible exposures, at least at first. Scheduled or unscheduled use of the clubhouse for games, clubs and board meetings will also be permitted. Rooms will be reserved for use by groups through the SOCA monthly calendar, as they were in the Before Times. The coffee service will also be available to all residents who have signed liability waivers. Finally, residents with orange wristbands may use the upper deck, not just during office hours, and without being signed-in.
– Indoor vigorous exercise classes.
– Gym. Due to the high potential for elevated respiration rates and contamination, the gym will not yet be reopened. In order to reopen it safely, we believe that, at least temporarily, the gym must have limited, scheduled reservations of fixed duration, e.g. 1 hour. It will also be necessary to operate a sign-in procedure. This will require volunteers, in much the same manner as the pool.
As you know, Linda Bloom, the only gym committee chair we’ve ever had, will no longer be serving in that important position. We need a new volunteer to chair the gym committee. The duties are to propose procedures to the board and recruit and organize volunteers, just as has been done for the pool. PLEASE LET THE OFFICE OR ANY SOCA BOARD MEMBER KNOW OF YOUR WILLINGNESS TO SERVE IN THIS CAPACITY. This is essential if we are to make progress on at least partially reopening our gym. When the gym does open, we can expect masking and distancing to be required until conditions improve further.
GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS: We still encourage prudent masking and distancing by all clubhouse users, particularly when indoors and close together, and especially when heavy breathing, singing, shouting, or similar activity is occurring. If you are sick with what may be a communicable illness, such as a cold or the flu, and especially if you have reason to believe that you may have Covid-19, please don’t come to the clubhouse. Please do your best to protect yourself and others.
We hope to see you at our beautiful clubhouse soon.
SOCA Board of Directors