Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo, John Armato Sponsor Legislation to Reopen Pools, Playgrounds

By: Helena Perray, Follow South Jersey Community Resources Intern

Photo: Jon Bradley | Follow South Jersey

SOUTH JERSEY — Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato have sponsored legislation that will help New Jersey Common Interest Communities reopen pools, playgrounds, and other recreational areas this summer.

Although a majority of the state’s shared amenities within these communities were forced to temporarily close down during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hope to reopen as the weather heats up.

According to a press release, assemblymen Mazzeo and Armato sponsored the bill that was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, and that would allow these local communities to safely reopen pools, gyms, playgrounds, and more.

The bill will also protect community associations and boards of directors from being held liable for transmission of the virus between community members within these shared facilities.

Eleven other states have also approved legislation providing protection for community associations against COVID-19-related liabilities.

In a statement issued by Armato and Mazzeo, they noted many communities’ current lack of protection against virus-related liabilities.

“Many insurance policies for these communities include a ‘virus exclusion’ that would exempt them from liability insurance coverage for the spread of viruses in their communities,” the statement read. “Without insurance coverage, uninsured liability claims related to COVID-19 would put a major financial strain CICs.”

In order to receive protection under the bill, these local communities must continue to follow all state-issued COVID-19 safety precautions as they pertain to the use of these public facilities.

“It’s time to get back to normal and enable residents in these communities to enjoy their summer and the amenities they pay for through their homeowner association fees,” Armato and Mazzeo said in their statement.

This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.