Safe Pool Operations & Social Distancing
When COVID-19 forced the shutdown of businesses of all kinds, aquatic professionals rallied together to work with their local health departments to develop plans to reopen their pools safely. With guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aquatic professionals have channeled their passion for the industry into broad guidelines.
Q: What can we do to keep our visitors safe as we reopen?
A: Each individual aquatic facility is unique when it comes to size, design, amenities, bather load and more. However, some recommendations apply to all facilities.
First of all, according to the CDC, there's no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to others through the water at aquatic venues, as long as you're following best practices in operation and maintenance, which includes proper disinfection and careful monitoring of the pool's water.
There are guidelines patrons should follow when it comes to social distancing, including staying home when sick, maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others, washing hands or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes and more. Remind patrons of their responsibility with highly visible signage, at entrances and exits, as well as in the changing area and in restrooms.
Be prepared to safely adjust the capacity of your pool and deck. Your local health department can provide some guidance, but also think about how to arrange your deck to ensure patrons can maintain a 6-foot distance between groups from other households. This might involve taking away some chairs, and spacing those that remain to help maintain the proper distance.
You might also consider other practices, such as a reservation system and time limits for patrons, to ensure everyone gets a chance to use the pool. Also, consider adopting the practice of many grocery stores and reserve some hours for older and immunocompromised swimmers.
Be sure to have a designated staff member—not a lifeguard—on hand to ensure everyone is following the guidelines.
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