Iowa Reopens Pools for Lap Swimming, Lessons on Friday

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced this week that pools were among the businesses allowed to reopen on Friday, May 22, as part of the state’s reopening plan as it emerges from the global coronavirus pandemic.

Pools, specifically for lap swimming and swimming lessons, are allowed to reopen, as are movie theaters, zoos, museums, aquariums, auctions, and wedding reception venues.

Pools may not reopen for other purposes, including recreation.

On May 28, bars in Iowa can reopen at 50% capacity, while on June 1, school-sponsored activities and learning will be allowed to resume.

Other businesses, including casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, arcades, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, and playgrounds, are still closed to the public.

“We are seeing a stabilization, seeing great trends, positivity trends go down, we have to move forward, recognize the fact the virus is in our community until a vaccine is discovered,” Reynolds said in her announcement. She did, however, caution that she will order businesses to reclose again if the state sees a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Specific language regarding swimming pools from the Governor’s order:

C. Swimming pools: A swimming pool, as defined in Iowa Code § 135I.1 may reopen for the limited purpose of lap swimming and conducting swimming lessons, but only to the extent that the establishment operating the pool takes reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment to ensure social distancing of employees and patrons, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with Guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Except for these limited purposes, all swimming pools and spas, wading pools, water slides, wave pools, spray pads, and bath houses, as defined in Iowa Code § 135I.1, shall continue to be closed.

The proclamation included no specific language on capacities or swimmers-per-lane as other states have used. Rather, the state ordered “reasonable measures” for distancing and hygiene practices based on the circumstances of each facility.

This makes Iowa the 25th out of 50 U.S. states to have announced a specific plan to reopen pools for some purpose.

Iowa has seen 16,408 confirmed coronavirus infections statewide, with 419 COVID-19 associated deaths. The state has been on a general downward trend since its peak of new cases in late April, though there was a spike of 572 new cases on Wednesday. Wednesday also saw 33 deaths in Iowa from COVID-19, which is the most recorded in a single day.


Alabama 5/11 50% capacity
Alaska 5/10 50% capacity
Arizona 5/15 50% capacity
Arkansas 5/22 50% capacity
California 5/20
No counties have been cleared for reopening pools by the state, though several teams have resumed practice anyway.
Delaware 5/22
Community Pools at 20% capacity, no swim lessons or team practices
Florida 5/22
some localities have allowed pools to begin to reopen under a patchwork of restrictions, while all youth sports have had their restrictions lifted
Georgia 5/14
10 or fewer people, or 6 feet of space per person
Indiana 5/22
Adhering to Social Distancing Guidelines, excluding Lake, Cass, and Marion counties
Iowa 5/22
No specific regulations, “reasonable measures” for enhanced hygiene and distancing
Kansas 6/1*
In phase 2, no earlier than June 1
Kentucky 6/1
Pools designated for training or exercise can reopen, 1-per-lane, beginning June 1
Louisiana 5/15
Lap Swimming can resume at 25% capacity
Massachussetts 6/8*
Outdoor pools can reopen in Phase 2 (as early as June 8), Indoor pools can reopen in Phase 3 (as early as late June)
Mississippi 5/7
six feet apart, maximum 20 people
Montana 5/15
50% capacity for pools at gyms or licensed public accomodation
North Carolina 5/22 50% capacity
Ohio 5/26
Pools can open if regulated by local health departments
South Carolina 5/18
Smaller of 20% capacity or 5 people per 1000 square feet
Texas 5/8 25% capacity
Utah 5/19
50 people or less in some areas, 1 per lane in others
Virginia 5/15
Outdoor lap swimming only, 1-per-lane
West Virginia 5/30
No restrictions announced yet
Wisconsin 5/13 Locality-by-locality
Wyoming 5/1 1 person per lane

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3 years ago

Lots of old 50 meter pools in that state. Well let’s watch Cali swimmers and coaches pack their cars this weekend and head to the Midwest for the summer for training.

3 years ago

Can’t wait to participate!!
Won’t worry about being in shape because open water swimming has been open for me for the past month!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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