An Edgewater condominium association has instituted fines and a possible suspension of membership privileges for any residents or guests caught not wearing a face mask in common areas amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in New Jersey.
“Although the overwhelming majority of neighbors have been compliant, it has come to our attention that an increasing number of residents and their guests have not been wearing face masks in the common areas,” the Hudson Harbor Condominium Association’s Board of Directors wrote in a letter to owners and tenants.
“As we’ve previously reminded everyone, masks are MANDATORY in ALL common areas of the building,” the River Road board noted. “This includes the lobby, side entrance, laundry room, elevators, stairwells, hallways and mezzanine. We have posted reminders all over the building as well.”
The director unanimously approved the measures in a resolution during an open meeting last week “in an effort to keep all of our residents and staff healthy” during a time when “cases have begun spiking in our area again.”
All owners, residents, guests, invitees, tenants, vendors, contractors, and anyone else over the age of 2 must wear a face covering in common areas, under the board resolution.
Required protection in those areas include “cloth coverings, surgical-grade masks and other more protective face coverings which fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, are secured with ties or ear loops and allow for breathing without restriction,” the resolution says.
“All [u]nit [o]wners are liable for the actions of their invitees, guests, tenants, and contractors,” it says. “Unit [o]wners will be subject to fines or suspension of their membership privileges if their invitees, guests, tenants, or contractors fail to comply.
“Any [u]nit [o]wner who violates this [r]esolution shall be fined and shall have his/her membership privileges suspended,” it adds.
The fine breakdown:
- First offense: $25;
- Second offense: $50;
- Third (and each subsequent) offense: $100.
The board didn't say how it would police the common areas for violators.
The "size, nature and design" of the property "makes it difficult to maintain social distancing measures" in those areas, the resolution adopted last week says.
It also refers to Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 executive order, which says that “the CDC has stated that such cloth face coverings must fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.”
The directors cited the board’s authority under association bylaws established in 1981 to "discharge its powers in a manner that protects and furthers the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the [c]ondominium.”
The bylaws allow the board to impose fines and other penalties for violations of the rules and regulations, they noted.
The fines and privilege suspensions “may be enforced via court order,” the board wrote, adding that it would "absolute discretion as to the enforcement" of the resolution.
The measures will continue “until the CDC or other state or federal agency declares that COVID-19 emergency procedures no longer need to remain in place,” the resolution says.
“Please be reminded that as with all of our rules and regulations, unit owners are responsible for their tenants, guests and vendors that are on our property,” the board wrote in its letter. “Therefore, if a resident’s visitor(s) is in violation of Hudson Harbour’s mask policy, that unit owner will be held responsible for paying the fine.
“Let’s all do our part to help protect our fellow neighbors. With your help and cooperation, we will get through this together. Thank you in advance!”
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