The CDC has issued an updated set of guidelines for pools and other aquatic facilities to re-open in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Although the agency does not explicitly state when facilities can begin to re-open, several states have already begun to re-open their facilities and some teams have started practices again.
- Many of the new guidelines continue to follow previously announced social distancing measures including:
- Encouraging people to frequently wash their hands using soap and warm water.
- Wearing face coverings when unable to remain 6 feet apart. (Though not when in the water)
- Cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces including ladders, slides, and railings.
- Posting signs around the facility to educate people about the impact of the virus.
Some newer, pool specific guidelines were also added to the list. These include guidelines for cleaning deck furniture, ensuring proper ventilation systems are in place, and changing pool deck layouts to maintain social distancing. Some guidelines also pertain to the staffing of aquatics facilities, and procedures to follow when actually in the water.
These pool specific guidelines include:
- Cleaning all deck furniture and equipment daily, including chairs, tables, kickboards, and pull buoys.
- Ensuring all cleaning products are EPA friendly by checking with supply companies.
- Washing all borrowed towels and shared equipment directly after use.
- Making sure all indoor pools have a working ventilation system, and opening doors and windows when possible.
- Moving all chairs and tables 6 feet apart, unless being utilized by people from the same household.
- Moving lifeguard and staff areas into socially distant areas so as to not put them at risk of contracting the virus.
- Staggering shift start times for staff to limit the amount of staff in the facility at one time.
- Training all staff on how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if they come in contact with someone with the virus.
- Designating staff to ensure all social distancing measures are being practiced by patrons, separate from the lifeguards on duty.
- Reducing pools’ capacity to comply with local regulations.
- Keeping patrons 6 feet apart in the pool whenever possible.
- Staggering the startimes of activities such as swim lessons and swim teams to limit the amount of people in the facility at one time.
- Minimizing the use of shared equipment such as kick boards, noodles, and goggles.