The board decided to close the laundry facility at White Mountain Vacation Village out of an abundance of caution. It was a difficult decision. I lived for a time on a sailboat and I understand what a convenience an on-site laundry can be.
Several factors were taken into consideration in this decision. First and foremost, the safety of the residents. It would be devastating to lose a resident to Covid-19 as a result of our inability to keep the premises free of the virus. Second, asking someone to clean the laundry constantly per the CDC guidelines would be placing them at risk. In addition, many, if not most of the required cleaning and sanitizing products have become difficult to purchase. Shamrock Foods who distributes to restaurants, hotels and grocery stores is even facing a shortage. Third, the liability of keeping the laundry open during this crisis. Everyone now knows that anyone who so desires can file a lawsuit against the Association. The cost to defend lawsuits is born by the homeowners not the Board. We made the decision to close the laundry to protect the lives and financial interests of the residents.
Laundromats were deemed an essential service by Governor Ducey. This means no one can force a laundromat to close if they choose to remain open and can operate under the CDC guidelines. It does not mean a laundromat is required to remain open. There are public laundromats open and operating in the area for residents to use. We understand these are less convenient. However, in order to keep the laundry open at The Village, the Association would be required to abide by the strict guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for cleaning, sanitation and social distancing – a seemingly challenging, if not impossible, task for owners to police for a private facility. If no other laundry facilities were available in the area, we would have considered the responsibility and risks for keeping The Village laundry open more seriously.
Residents have pleaded to leave the laundry open stating they clean up after themselves and leave everything safe for the next person. The Board cannot guarantee that everyone is doing this and doing it per CDC guidelines and therein lies the problem.
After much discussion, we are offering a proposal to open the laundry. This would involve a lot of work and planning on the part of anyone who volunteers to step up and take responsibility. One or more people would need to organize to make this happen.
The guidelines outlined by the CDC for cleaning, including the proper supplies, timelines and appropriate protective gear for volunteers must be followed. A written plan for social distancing would need to be put in place, including having an attendant on the premises at all times during operating hours to enforce that policy. People would need to sign up to do the cleaning and verify that they did so. This plan would need to be in writing, including, but not limited to, who is responsible for cleaning and how often, how to monitor for illness and what to do if someone ill enters the premises. It must be presented to the Board for approval along with the social distancing policy.
We would require waivers releasing the board, RSA, HOAMCO, and Developer from any responsibility for keeping this facility open. Know that when you sign off on cleaning, disinfecting, and monitoring for social distancing and illness you are responsible for the health, wellbeing, and lives of anyone who enters the laundry facility. If anyone is willing to volunteer, and after all policies are in place and supplies obtained, we will open the laundry for eight hours every day for the remainder of the crisis. Someone will have to be onsite at all times during operating hours and will be required to sign in, sign out, and sign off on cleaning, disinfecting, social monitoring, illness monitoring, and guaranteeing the use of protective gear. The group of volunteers would be responsible for obtaining all supplies and protective gear with the RSA reimbursing you for the expense.
This is an unexpected and unprecedented crisis. It is too dangerous to be business as usual in the Village. People’s lives depend on making hard choices.
If you are interested, knowing and accepting the responsibility and risk involved, please submit your plan to Sherry Watson at HOAMCO. She will get it to the board for consideration.