Palm Beach County Unwilling or Unable To Enforce Most COVID Rules, So HOA Leaders Are Closing The Gates
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Seemingly frustrated with a lack of leadership from Palm Beach County officials and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, area HOA and Country Club Boards are taking matters into their own hands, instituting significant restrictions on guests, visitors and family members in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID. Palm Beach County Mayor David Kerner, and other county leaders, held a news conference Thursday in which they seemingly promised to do absolutely nothing about the latest surge. The county continues its lukewarm enforcement of COVID-19 rules — most businesses not complying are merely receiving “education” to remind them that masks are good.
But that’s not the end of the story.
HOA’s in Florida have a unique ability to enforce rules and regulations that may not be enforceable outside a community’s gates. In most circumstances, homeowners agree to follow these rules when they buy a home.
BocaNewsNow.com reported Thursday that Polo Club — a Boca Raton country club — was leading other communities by example in setting strict rules as the holiday season approaches. Neither guests nor “vertical family members” may use the club’s facilities. That means parents, cousins, even kids who don’t live in the home are prohibited from using Polo Club’s pools, gyms, and other amenities until further notice.
“We have to do the right thing,” said someone familiar with the thinking of Polo Club’s board but unauthorized to speak with media. “We have senior citizens in here. And we have people who believe COVID is a political hoax. We can not be in a situation as a community that Thanksgiving and Christmas continue as normal and people die. It is unfortunate that there are homeowners who believe their personal needs are more important than doing the right thing or doing the smart thing for our neighbors and friends.”
One of those homeowners tipped off BocaNewsNow.com initially to Polo Club’s rules and regulations.
“As members, we bought here for the facilities and services they offer,” wrote the homeowner who, in several emails, said he is annoyed by the rules but completely understands the other point of view. “Respectfully, we are a nation of choices. Once you take freedoms away it will get worse. We immigrated from a socialist country for the freedoms this great country offers us.”
After publishing our initial article Thursday, BocaNewsNow.com learned that other communities are taking similar measures. Woodfield Country Club is among them, as is Delaire Country Club in Delray Beach. BocaNewsNow.com obtained Delaire’s COVID rules and regulations. We’re publishing the complete guide below as an example of how some communities are handling the situation. Among Delaire’s restrictions:
“The Clubhouse, Fitness Center, and Pool, along with indoor and outdoordining (including bagel room), are restricted to Members only. Immediate Family Guests (colloquially, One-Ups, and One- and Two-Downs), guests and personal aides are not permitted, even if they reside permanently with Delaire Members. Temperature checks will be done for all Members and entry will be denied if their temperature is elevated above 100.4 degrees F.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stripped local governments of most COVID-19 enforcement ability when he moved the entire state to “Phase 3” and rescinded COVID-19 fines issued against individuals. The Governor, and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, have indicated that all public school students will be required to attend school in person — not through distance learning — in January. An announcement is expected in November.
“The Governor shows time and time again that he couldn’t care less,” said a board member from a Boca-area HOA. “We have it in our power to at least try to help people, whether they understand that we’re helping them or not. I fear we’re heading to a very bad place. We have to do what we can.”
Florida had reported 16,647 COVID deaths, and 794,624 COVID infections as of mid-day Thursday, October 29th, 2020.
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