North Carolina Governor Officially Clears Pools to Reopen on Friday, May 22

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday afternoon that pools may reopen at 50% capacity as the state enters Phase 2 of its plan to reopen businesses amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Phase 2 officially begins at 5PM Eastern Time on Friday.

On Tuesday, Cooper said that pools were on track to hit opening by Memorial Day Weekend, and that the state government was “contemplating allowing pools to open in Phase 2.” On Wednesday, his office made that official, in addition to announcing restrictions that include half-capacity for the time being.

Personal care businesses, including barber shops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage therapists, are also being allowed to reopen at 50% capacity. Further, these business are to operate by appointment only, and that all employees and customers must wear face masks at all times.

Restaurants will also be able to open at 50% capacity with a mask requirement for all staff.

Among the businesses not included in Phase 2 are, among others, gyms, health clubs, and play grounds in spite of the allowance of pools. Bars and nightclubs must also remain closed.

Cooper had expressed hope that more businesses would be allowed to begin reopen but that recent data convinced them to “back off” any further easing.

The state has exempted churches from any restrictions, meaning that those congregations can gather at their own risk, though officials have discouraged them from doing so. In the early stages of the pandemic, large church gatherings were a source of rapid spread of the virus.

The latest order is in effect until June 26, at which time it could be extended, or Phase 3, with more easing of restrictions, could continue.

Several USA Swimming teams in North Carolina have resumed practice, in spite of the orders allowing pools to reopen not going into effect until Friday.

North Carolina has recorded over 20,000 cases of coronavirus infection so far, with 721 deaths attributed to COVID-19. The entry into Phase 2 in the reopening plan comes amid a rapid rise in the number of new cases in the state. The last week has seen the highest number of recorded new cases so far during the pandemic in North Carolina of any 7 day period so far.


  • Alabama – 50% capacity (May 11)
  • Alaska – 50% capacity
  • Arizona – 50% capacity (May 15)
  • Arkansas – 50% capacity (May 22)
  • California – No counties have been cleared for reopening pools by the state, though several teams have resumed practice anyway.
  • Delaware – Community Pools at 20% capacity, no swim lessons or team practices (May 22)
  • Florida – some localities have allowed pools to begin to reopen under a patchwork of restrictions
  • Indiana – Adhering to Social Distancing Guidelines (May 24)
  • Georgia – 10 or fewer people, or 6 feet of space per person (May 14)
  • Kentucky – Pools designated for training or exercise can reopen (June 1)
  • Louisiana– Lap Swimming can resume at 25% capacity
  • Massachussetts – 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 – six feet apart
  • North Carolina – 50% capacity (May 22)
  • Ohio – CDC Guidelines (May 26)
  • South Carolina – Smaller of 20%/5 people per 1000 square feet (May 18)
  • Texas – 25% capacity
  • Virginia – Outdoor lap Swimming only, 1-per-lane (May 15)
  • Wyoming – 1 person per lane



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2 years ago

District of Columbia will not allow reopening of public or private pools until stage 3 of reopening. DC is not yet at stage 1.

2 years ago

NC Gov. Copper is making the wrong decision just look at the numbers of new cases since he decided to reopen all they are doing are getting worse. Keep up opening the state and we will be the first to close again

Steve G
2 years ago

Which teams in NC have started training or will do so shortly?

Reply to  Steve G
2 years ago

TAC has been in the water at least a week.

Reply to  NCFan
2 years ago

But how long have they been out recruiting???

Reply to  NCFan
2 years ago

And had the cops called on them for breaking guidelines

2 years ago

Yes! Let the recruiting begin in the Raleigh area!

2 years ago

Which CA teams have reopened their pools?

Wuhan Jimmy
2 years ago

Bad news for New York swimmers: Mayor DiBlasio to lay a naval minefield on the beaches to prevent swimmers from going into the ocean. I guess he means business.
Of course, this report is from the country’s paper of record, the Babylon Bee.

Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

What’s 50% capacity for swimming pool?

It’s very vague.

Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

The pool capacity figures usually focus on fire marshal swimmer loads. So if your pool is rated for 180 swimmers total, then you could have 90 if you’re at 50% capacity. Obviously that doesn’t account for distancing rules — the vast majority of teams swimming now are using strict lane capacity rules also.

2 years ago

Uhhh May 21st is a Thursday

Reply to  Jimbo
2 years ago

The title is wrong, its not the end of the world. If you read the article they explicitly stated Thursday.

Reply to  Wow
2 years ago

bro, why don’t you make like a freezer and chill

Reply to  Wow
2 years ago

Yup, exactly. They open on Funday, Marchuary 33rd.

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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