The state of Michigan, one of the few remaining states that had not made any movement on reopening pools, announced on Monday that the state will move to phase 4 of its reopening plan on June 8, 2020.
“The data has shown that we are ready to carefully move our state into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan, but we owe it to our brave frontline heroes to get this right,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19. If we all do our part, our goal is to announce a shift to phase five for the entire state prior to the fourth of July. Stay smart, stay safe, and let’s all do our part.”
As part of the phase 4 plan, outdoor pools can reopen, so long as local regulations allow, with up to 50% of their bather capacity limits. Pools will be required to follow guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Indoor pools must remain closed for the time being. The phase 4 plan gives no timeline on reopening indoor pools.
Gyms, fitness centers, and other sports organizations may also resume classes, practices, training sessions, or games, provided that coaches, spectators, and participants remain 6 feet apart during the activities, and provided the activities are outside.
The news comes a few days after 3 counties in Southeast Michigan, encompassing the Detroit area that is the state’s most populated area, said that pools there would remain closed ‘indefinitely.’
Southeast Michigan has been one of the country’s hardest-hit areas in the coronavirus pandemic, with Wayne County alone seeing 20,415 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,461 deaths. That ranks the county as having the 4th-most cases and 5th-most deaths of any county in the country.
Wayne County has, however, seen a dramatic decline in cases in recent weeks. Over the last week, Wayne County has seen fewer-than-6 new daily cases of coronavirus infection per 100,000 citizens. That’s a rate far lower than similarly-sized areas like Philadelphia (which is seeing around 12 new cases per 100,000) and New York County* (around 9 new cases per 100,000).
*While New York City is much larger than Detroit, New York County, which is coterminus with Manhattan, is of a similar size.
The area is also home to a number of large swimming clubs that have produced a large number of national and international swimmers. For example, current U.S. National Teamers Annie Lazor, Gabby DeLoof, Devon Nowicki, and Allison Schmitt all grew up in either Oakland or Wayne Counties.