The state of Pennsylvania announced that pools will be able to reopen as early as June 5 following the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, Governor Tom Wolf’s plan includes three colored phases: red, yellow, and green, with red being the most restrictive phase. As the state announced on May 22, pools will be allowed to reopen beginning in the “yellow” and “green” phases, depending on the area that they are in.
Whenever they do reopen, all pools are expected to follow the CDC’s guidelines for aquatic facilities.
According to the reopening plan, the red phase includes policies such as:
- Strongly enforced social distancing
- Stay at home orders
- Only essential businesses may be open
- Large gatherings prohibited
- Restaurants may only be open for takeout or delivery.
The yellow phase, though less restrictive still includes guidelines that limit social interaction, including:
- No gatherings of more than 25 people
- A limited stay at home order
- Retail shops may open, but curbside pickup is preferred
- Businesses can open at 50% capacity
- Restaurants may open outdoor dining
- All indoor recreation facilities (gyms, spas, hair salons) must remain closed
- Outdoor recreation facilities (pools, parks) may open
The final phase of the plan, the green phase, accounts for the new normal, and allows for less restrictive social interactions including:
- Childcare facilities and schools may reopen following CDC guidelines
- Businesses can open at 75% capacity
- Large gatherings may include up to 250 people
- Restaurants can open indoors at 50% capacity
- Indoor Recreation facilities may open at 50% capacity (including pools)
- Entertainment services (bars, casinos, theatres) may open at 50% capacity
Currently, about half of the state is still in the red phase and expected to move to the yellow phase on June 5. A significant portion of the state, mostly the counties in western Pennsylvania, will be moving to the green phase on June 5, with no counties expected to remain in the red phase.
Many of the largest aquatics programs in the state fall under this category including several teams in the Philadelphia area like the Upper Maine Line YMCA, the former of which is home to age group standout and YMCA National Record holder Brendan Burns, who just completed his first season at Indiana University.
The city of Philadelphia (coterminus with the county of Philadelphia) said that even if the county is moved into the yellow phase, it will still not allow the re-opening of pools or swim clubs. This applies to both city pools (the city has already closed them for the summer) and private pools.
Pools at state parks will remain closed until at least June 12, with most scheduled to reopen June 13.
The Pittsburgh area is expected to move mostly into the green phase later this week. That includes Team Pittsburgh Aquatics and Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics, the latter of which is home to World Junior Champion holder Josh Matheny.
A handful of less-populated counties are already in the green phase, including: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.
Additionally, some counties are in the yellow phase, including: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Susquehanna, Union, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming, Wayne, and York.
However, this will soon change as the Governor declared that on June 5, several counties in southwestern Pennsylvania that are currently in the yellow phase will be allowed to move into the green phase, including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.
Then, on Friday June 12, Wolf hopes to be able to move the remaining red counties-Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton- up to the yellow category.