TAA Tips for Reopening Amenities and Common Areas

COVID-19 News ,

When should apartment amenities open? 
Governor’s “Open Texas” plan offers some guidance

The  Texas Apartment Association will be updating you regularly about our resources and actions taken to respond to challenges our members are facing in response to the coronavirus and COVID-19. 

Here are some important factors to consider before reopening apartment pools, gyms, sport courts, theaters or other amenities:

  • On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a phased-in approach and signed a number of executive orders to allow many Texas businesses to reopen, with Phase 1 beginning May 1. This plan applies to businesses which had been ordered closed or otherwise designated as non-essential; it does not require those businesses to reopen May 1. Rental housing operations have been considered essential businesses, so the conditions and limitations in the governor’s new orders related to “reopened” businesses do not apply. See the full plan for details, and helpful guidance for businesses to consider. The governor’s orders apply statewide and supersede any conflicting local orders. The governor’s original stay-home order will expire on April 30.

  • However, some of the restrictions and recommendations in the plan DO apply to some people and some amenities. For example, individuals over 65 are still encouraged to remain at home as much as possible, physical distancing and limited in-person interactions are still encouraged and wearing a mask in public is strongly recommended, though not required. Similarly, counties with fewer than five cases of COVID-19 have different standards applied than those with greater incidence rates.

  • How do the new orders affect apartment amenities reopening? 
    • Apartment pools: Should NOT open May 1. Apartment pools are classified as Class C pools, and must follow the same rules as public pools. Phase 2 guidelines (coming May 18 or later) may address opening of public pools.

    • Apartment gyms: Should NOT open May 1. Since public gyms are not authorized to open in Phase1, the safest interpretation would be to treat an apartment gym or fitness room the same. Phase 2 guidelines may address opening of gyms.

    • Apartment theater rooms: Could open May 1, but with capacity limited to 25%. This would mirror the standards applied to public movie theaters. Increased capacity (to 50%) is targeted for Phase 2, presuming there has not been significant spread of the virus.

    • Apartment sport courts, tennis courts: Could open May 1, but with restrictions to limit the number of players on the court to 4 or fewer at a time. This also mirrors the restrictions in the Phase 1 plan for allowing some types of sports.

    • Apartment business centers: Could open May 1, but with restrictions on any shared equipment. This would mirror restrictions in the Phase 1 plan on libraries and museums keeping hands-on areas closed. 

Free webinars on coronavirus-related issues: 

  • HAA Webinar: Reopening Texas Apartment Communities--This free webinar hosted by the Houston Apartment Association on the topic of reopening Texas and how it affects the apartment industry is scheduled April 30 at 12:30 a.m. CDT. Reserve your spot.

  • COVID-19 Webinar: AAGD Legal Update--This free Apartment Association of Greater Dallas hosted and TAA cohosted webinar on legal topics surrounding COVID-19 is scheduled April 30 at 3 p.m. CDT. Reserve your spot.

  • Texas Property Taxes & COVID-19--This free TAA-sponsored webinar on property tax issues is scheduled May 6 at 2 p.m. CDT. Reserve your spot.

Questions? TAA has a dedicated email for members with coronavirus-related questions: COVID-19@taa.org