Guidelines, Timeline Set for Pools Reopening in Washington State

The state of Washington has posted guidelines for the reopening of miniature golf, putt-putt golf, and staffed water recreation facilities under “Modified Phase 1” of its reopening plan.

Some counties around the state were already cleared to move into Phase 2 of the reopening plan, while others (like King, the site of a major COVID-19 outbreak) remain in Modified Phase 1. Previously, Washington had said that outdoor pools could plan to reopen at 50% capacity in Phase 3, which was projected for June 22.

Washington is one of the last states in the country to announce plans to open swimming, and was also one of the initial epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

According to the guidelines, all staffed water recreation facilities must adopt a written procedure for employee safety and customer interaction that is “at least as strict” as the given rules.

Facilities must follow state and federal law regarding health and safety in the workplace, as well as comply with Washington Governor Jay Inslee‘s additional “Safe Start” Proclamation, which was issued in late May. In addition to general safety precautions, like hand-washing, the guidelines state that every employer must designate a site-specific COVID-19 supervisor to enforce the reopening plan and safety measures.

In Modified Phase 1, authorized pool operations include “appointment-only lap swimming, one-on-one lessons, and small group classes (groups of 5 or less) at any water recreation facility,” the guidelines say – club swim teams fall under “lap swimming.” Facilities must limit capacity to 25 percent of the normal building occupancy or less.

Staffed Water Recreation Facilities (Public and Private) Guidelines:

  1. Please refer to the memo on customer logs. (Which states that customers are no longer obligated to give business contact info).
  2. Six-foot physical distancing must be maintained for employees and clients through all phases. This
    applies to all parts of the facility (in the water, decks, bathrooms, locker rooms, and other communal
  3. Remove or rearrange lounge chairs and tables as necessary to maintain physical distancing.
  4. Other prevention measures such as barriers to block sneezes and coughs are required where physical
    distancing is not possible for staff. For example, this may be appropriate for front desk personnel.
  5. Regularly sanitize counter tops, doorknobs, other common surfaces, cash registers, kiosks, diaper
    changing stations, drinking fountains, locker handles, handrails, pool noodles, and kickboards and
    other frequently touched surfaces including employee used equipment.
  6. Install signage to discourage group congregation, or to limit numbers of people in a certain area.
    Customers will be reminded to be especially mindful of social distancing in the parking lot. Warn
    frequent offenders.
  7. Ensure restrooms and changing rooms are frequently cleaned and appropriately sanitized
    throughout the day.
  8. Face coverings such as masks and cloth coverings to cover the nose and the mouth are highly
    recommended for customers while not in the water or shower.
  9. Ask visitors to leave the facility immediately after they are done to eliminate gatherings on the
    property or in the parking lot.
  10. Increase the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the space.
  11. Food and beverage services must conform to curbside, delivery, and dine-in restaurant
    requirements. Vending machines may be used as long as sanitation wipes are provided for customer
    use, an appropriately sized receptacle for used wipes is in the immediate vicinity, and that receptacle
    is emptied regularly preventing overflow especially in outdoor areas.
  12. Keep up to date on all changes issued by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Labor &
    Industries, and the Department of Health.
  13. Prior to reopening, all water recreation facilities are required to develop for each location a
    comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation and recovery plan. The plan must include
    policies regarding the following control measures: PPE utilization; on-location physical distancing;
    hygiene; sanitation; symptom monitoring; incident reporting; location disinfection procedures;
    COVID-19 safety training; exposure response procedures and a post-exposure incident project-wide
    recovery plan. A copy of the plan must be available at the location and available for inspection by
    state and local authorities. Failure to meet posting requirements will result in sanctions, including
    the location being shut down.
  14. All indoor water recreation facilities should stay updated on advice from national sports associations
    and the CDC, such as:
    • USA Swimming
    • Divers Alert Network
    • CDC

The guidelines also state that “instructors conducting any type of lessons or classes will be responsible for ensuring that the COVID19 Safety Plan is being adhered to,” and that “lessons, classes and lap swimming must be staggered to maintain social distancing and limited capacity in a facility.”

Click here to view the full guidelines.

Individual facilities have the power to decide how many swimmers will be allowed per lane.

Accross all 50 states, only New Mexico and New York are now without pool reopening dates. Click here to view SwimSwam’s state-by-state reopening index.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Let’s gooooo!

Jolynn Swimmer
1 year ago

Our local pools are repairing using this pandemic period. So no pool…even WA opens their pools.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

Read More »