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Aug 2020

Update on Reopening of Clubhouse

by Vincent Dechiaro, Vice President
It goes without saying that the closure of the clubhouse and other activities, which we all enjoyed as part of our daily lives, has dealt a blow to our social life. Whether it be shuffleboard, bocce, ping pong or a visit to the library, an evening out with the Social Club, the Men's Club, a night of Bingo with friends or Women's Club activities, we can only wait until this crisis has passed.
I would like to update you on legislation on both a State and Federal level that addresses the primary cause for this closure. As you are aware, the insurance industry dropped coverage in 2006. The lack of insurance coverage for a pandemic virus affects not only associations, such as HOAs, but in fact has a chilling effect on all businesses both large and small.
The New Jersey State Senate has under consideration Bill #4388 which calls on Governor Murphy to indemnify all associations and businesses from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19, and who have satisfied the guideline requirements for reopening in a safe and legal manner, as prescribed by the State. The NJ Senate Judiciary Committee has stalled on moving this Bill out of committee to the floor for debate. Reasons not given, but under significant pressure from the Trial Lawyers Association to delay any action.
On a Federal level, the United States Senate has proposed, and has included, a provision in the upcoming round of stimulus that would give businesses and associations such as ours, relief from frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19. Again, the Majority in the United States Senate has included this provision as critical, while the Senate Minority has objected to its inclusion in the final bill. Once again, we and other associations and businesses are held captive by organizations which have a significant lobbying effort to defeat this legislation.
On a more local level, it appears that there are some members of our association who either do not fully understand, or are unwilling to accept, the decision of your elected Trustees of this association. Members of the Board pay dues just like you do and they also participate in the social life of this organization. Anyone who thinks that the decision to close the club until further notice was an easy one, are sadly mistaken. No Board of Trustees in the history of this club has ever been faced with a more dire situation and the associated responsibility regarding this closing as has this Board. We appreciate the support we have been receiving regarding this decision and reaffirm our commitment to all our members to operate this association in both a fiscally sound and professionally managed operation.
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