Apartment complexes must be held accountable for risky pool parties

Pool party at Catalyst. Photo courtesy Tallahassee Democrat

In the past two weeks, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Leon County has  been increasing. The aforementioned two weeks included Labor Day and Florida State University’s first home football game.

On Labor Day weekend, images and a video went viral over the internet of local college-aged residents in Tallahassee attending fully packed pool parties at both Stadium Enclave and Catalyst. Last weekend, another viral video surfaced on Twitter of FSU students tailgating before Saturdays football game. Although the video has unknown whereabouts, it is suspected to be a college apartment complex near Jackson Bluff Road.

Whether the photo/video was shared on social media apps like Twitter, Instagram or TikTok, it immediately received attention from Leon County locals, concerned parents or national news.

In a statement released by University Communities LLC, the property management of Catalyst, it shared a brief statement with WTXL as a response to the Labor Day event:

Stadium Enclave pool party. Photo courtesy Twitter

We have become aware of a Labor Day gathering at the pool area of the Catalyst residential community. Use of the pool is currently limited to residents only, with a maximum of 25 people at any given time, and only during leasing office operating hours. The pool area was officially closed over the Labor Day holiday weekend, with no access permitted and additional safeguards in place to prohibit access via FOB or otherwise.

The company’s statement continued to explain that although they did not prevent the pool party, they planned to seek the individuals responsible for organizing the event.

The problem is: Where was the apartment complexs security service during this vandalization in the first place? Why is Stadium Enclave just beginning to implement a strict reservation policy for the pool? Are Tallahassee apartment complexes immune to hosting COVID-19?

Students and locals in Tallahassee that are abiding by CDC guidelines and social distancing are not only angry with their peers for recklessly attending social events, but they are also worried about those who live in Tallahassee.

FSU media/communications student Grant Gibbs is concerned about his peers and their lack of safety and care for catching COVID-19.

I personally find it very frustrating and selfish,Gibbs said. Theres this mentality of invincibility among my peers, thinking if they get it [COVID-19] theyre going to be fine, so why even be afraid of it.

FSU School of Dance student Emily Alderman is spending her last semester of college by safely quarantining herself, while watching her peers enjoy themselves at a high risk.

My peers going to football games and tailgates really just makes me ashamed to be an FSU student,Alderman said. My anxiety levels are at an all-time high, especially because Ive watched people get so sick during this pandemic. Its awful to see the privilege that most FSU students clearly have. They dont care.

Stadium Enclave post. Photo courtesy Facebook

Although the students can be to blame for pool parties and tailgating — without wearing masks, of course — the management at apartment complexes like Catalyst and Stadium Enclave need to be more responsible for their open facilities and realize the impact that their public spaces can have to either contain or distribute COVID-19.

In a Facebook post on July 27, Stadium Enclave posted on its feed to, Be safe. Be smart. Do your part. Were dedicated to putting the well being of our residents and team first, so weve teamed up with RB, the makers of Lysol, to overhaul our cleaning protocols and evaluate high-traffic touch points in our communities. Together, we seek to empower our residents to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

For an apartment complex that urged its residents to be safe and smart while doing their part, they also should be taking their own advice. Precautions like limiting guests at their pool prior to a notorious party weekend would have been an excellent way for them to do their part.

To the students in Leon County, wear a mask, social distance and think about the lives that are permanently being affected simply because you want to go to a trivial party. To the management over Tallahassee student-oriented apartments, do better.