Highland Lakes

Country Club and Community Association

Update from Club President Michael Gelfand

Dear Club Members,

It’s a portentous holiday weekend, but before we get into what’s been on everyone’s minds for weeks, it’s important to note how unfortunate it is to be forced to break with tradition by being unable to observe Memorial Day ceremonies on the Clubhouse lawn this holiday weekend. The Seniors group always works hard to properly honor the women and men who died while serving in the US military—I hope members will take a few moments to remember what this sacred national holiday is all about, and pay reverence in their own way.
While not as sacred, another traditional part of this holiday weekend typically includes time spent with family and friends at parades, beaches and barbeques. In normal times these activities would be a given, but these are far from normal times, and we can’t take those things for granted ever again.
Most, if not all of us, remain caught in a swirl of emotions resulting from our society being locked down for so long. Basic human needs and simple interactions are suddenly loaded with apprehension. We’re oversaturated with news, opinions, and data, and battered by competing priorities and political polarization. It all leaves many of us feeling confused and/or frustrated about what we can, can’t, should and shouldn’t be doing.
So it comes with a mixture of relief and concern that the Club is poised to reopen some of its operations this weekend. Some of you will find relief in knowing that aspects of life in Highland Lakes are slated to return slightly closer to normal, in small but meaningful degrees, this weekend. Others will find no solace in it. Regardless of how you feel about it, it’s important to keep things in perspective: no summer activities would be underway at this point, and our beaches would not start opening on a daily basis for nearly another month. Another way to look at it is to remember that until two weeks ago, it seemed quite possible that we wouldn’t be having much of a summer at all, so a partial return to normalcy—with lots of new requirements—is a big deal, albeit with its own set of challenges.
Before I share information about what you need to know heading into this weekend, it’s important to point out that the Club continues to operate under emergency orders from the New Jersey’s governor and follows directives from state and county health regulators. The Club is doing what it can to safely balance what is allowed with what makes sense and what is doable. If we can’t strike that balance and can’t operate safely for any reason, we’ll scale back operations until we can. Much of that depends on how we all move forward together…
Every member can do their part to ensure that things go smoothly. That means complying with social distancing guidelines, and unequivocally respecting everyone else’s rights, even if you don’t agree with their personal perspectives or decisions. If you’re uncomfortable going to one of our beaches because other people will be there who might not be wearing facemasks, don’t go; social distancing is mandatory, and protective masks are strongly encouraged where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, but they aren’t required. Similarly, if you refuse to follow social distancing guidelines and want to cause a scene, you should stay home or do it elsewhere, because that just plain disrespectful of others.
All of us are responsible for maintaining social distancing guidelines—stay six feet away from anyone who isn’t a family member living under the same roof. It’s not that complicated; imagine a large black bear standing between you and everyone else, the rest will fall into place from there.
If we work together, respect each other, and act appropriately, everyone across the spectrum of concern should be able to enjoy themselves on our beaches, docks, lakes and roads as much as their friends, neighbors and fellow members. Obviously the Voting Board will evaluate how things go this weekend, and if necessary we’ll revise how we move forward as a community.
Finally, the Voting Board is meeting remotely tonight (Friday, May 22) to discuss longer term plans for activities, events, and meetings, and more information about these issues and decisions will be shared as soon as possible. For now, here’s what you can expect as you are out and about this weekend, but please keep in mind that this remains a fluid situation, and things can literally change without a moment’s notice in response to new emergency orders:

  • Social distancing is required—no exceptions. All members must maintain six feet between themselves and anyone who doesn’t live under the same roof as them.  
  • Members are strongly encouraged to wear facemasks when out in public. Facemasks are not a requirement. Whether you choose to wear one or not, please be mindful of everyone else’s rights, as well as your personal responsibility to those around you.
  • Beaches 1, 2, 3, and 7 will be open this weekend, though the swim floats are closed due to social distancing requirements.
  • Capacity limitations on our beaches are based on the six-foot social distancing requirement dictated by the Sussex County Division of Health. The following are the lower limit capacities of the following beaches based on ALL individuals at the beach living under different roofs:
    • Beach 1 open 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., capacity of no more than 145 people
    • Beach 2 open 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., capacity of no more than 103 people
    • Beach 3 open 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., capacity of no more than 75 people
    • Beach 7 open 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., capacity of no more than 18 people
  • Once any beach’s capacity has been reached, members will not be allowed to access it until there is adequate space for them. Out of common courtesy, members should not park blankets and chairs without being on the beach.
  • Lifeguards will be on duty at all open beaches. Please do not approach them. They are required to wear facemasks when unable to maintain social distancing, and they have a difficult job to do under normal circumstances. Their jobs are much harder now, so please treat them with the respect they deserve, and let them work without unnecessary distractions.
  • The bathrooms at the Beach Hut at Beach 1 will be open during beach hours only, and cleaned at least twice daily. Use them at your own risk.
  • Portable bathrooms will be available for use on Beaches 2, 3, and 7, and are supposed to be equipped with hand sanitizer, but do not anticipate that hand sanitizer will remain available at all times in every unit throughout every day. Instead, please bring your own just in case. The Club will clean these units at least twice daily. Use them at your own risk.
  • When using public bathrooms, it’s always wise to bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, wear a mask, close the lid of the toilet when you flush (if possible) and thoroughly wash your hands. The safest course: Keep your beach visit short enough that using public restrooms won’t be necessary—to minimize unnecessary risks, make sure the entire family takes care of business at home and changes into swimsuits before leaving home.
  • The Beach Hut vending and water fountain at Beach 1 will remain closed until further notice.
  • Membership badges must be worn on Club property by members at all times to ensure that beaches are only being used by members and authorized guests.
  • Guest badges can be purchased by members from lifeguards—strict limits for each beach will be established on Friday night by the Voting Board and publicized on the Club’s website. Anticipate that members will be limited to a small number of guest badges per day, valid only on the day of purchase.
  • Cars without valid membership badges displayed will be ticketed and may have a difficult-to-remove “Warning” affixed to a window.
  • The Club Office, Activity Center, and Clubhouse will remain closed until further notice as required under various Executive Orders permitting only essential businesses, with significant restrictions, to be open. If you need to contact office personnel for any reason, call 973-764-4366 or email hlcc@warwick.net. Over the Memorial Day weekend, staff will be available by telephone between the hours of 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Badges are being distributed by mail only to members who have paid their dues and assessments in full. The 2019 badges and permits are valid until June 30, 2020, as a result of the Voting Board’s suspension of late payment charges. However, unless you have been assigned a permanent dock space under the former boat lottery system, you may not claim a space on a dock or boat rack unless you have your 2020 boating permit AND you place your boat in the spot.

Have fun, stay safe. More info to come about summer activities, events, meetings and happenings in the days to come.


Michael Gelfand
Club President

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