Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive orders this week, allowing the reopening of gyms and indoor pools within the state and outlining how to safely minimize the risk of disease transmission, among other things.
The biggest impact the orders will have is that they will allow the reopening of indoor pools in all parts of the state. Previously only outdoor pools had been allowed to be open while operating at 50% capacity. Michigan has been one of the slowest states to reopen pools, not allowing the use of outdoor pools until June 8th.
The orders passed this week will not only allow for indoor pools to reopen but for athletic competition to begin as well. The orders allow organized sports to take place with no social distancing requirements within the field of play. While social distancing regulations won’t pertain to athletics, facial covering requirements will. All athletes, with swimming being the lone exception, must wear facial coverings during competition.
For swimming, the biggest impact will be on the girl’s high school season. A fall sport, teams will be allowed to begin practice as early as Wednesday, September 9th.
The orders also limit the total number of people allowed to attend indoor competitions to 100 and limit the number of guests in attendance to a maximum of two per athlete.
While the orders allow all pool facilities to reopen, it does restrict the number of people who may use them at one time. While the outdoor capacity will stay at 50% as it has been since July, indoor pools will be capped at 25% capacity. The number of people on the pool deck will also be limited to ensure that 6-feet of space between individuals can be maintained at all times.
Despite indoor pools only being allowed to reopen now, the University of Michigan was hosting voluntary summer workouts at the indoor Canham Natatorium throughout the summer, per the team’s social media accounts. These workouts were put on pause following COVID-19 testing results at the end of July.