Texas Allows Public Pools to Reopen Friday; Many Large Cities Balk

Texas became the latest state to approve the widespread reopening of public pools, with local municipalities being told that they could begin to reopen at 25% capacity on Friday by Texas governor Greg Abbott.

According to an executive order, “local public swimming pools may so operate only if permitted by the local government.”

Many of the state’s biggest cities, however, are waiting before making that decision.

San Antonio and Austin, which are the 2nd-and-4th largest cities in Texas with a combined population of over 2.5 million, have said they’re not quite ready yet. Austin mayor Steve Adler says that the city will observe the situation for the next 3 or 4 weeks and decide what to do based on that information. He also extended the city’s stay-at-home order until May 30th, with county orders extended until June 15th.

San Antonio has been more vague, just saying they’ll remain closed for now, though city parks have reopened.

A judge in Harris County, where most of the city of Houston is located, has ordered all pools to remain closed until May 20th.

In the state’s 3rd-largest city, Dallas, the original schedule had pools reopening June 1, but the Dallas Aquatics Website warns visitors that those openings will be delayed. Aquatic centers in suburbs of Bedford and Hurst won’t open at all this summer.

Private pools, however, like those in hotels, subdivisions, and apartments, may begin opening at 25% capacity. Collin County, home to many of Dallas’ largest suburbs like Plano and Frisco, did reopen on Friday.

Also opening on Friday are hair salons. Gyms have to remain closed until May 18th and then can only open at 25% capacity.

Florida pools have been allowed to reopen as well, while the Kentucky Swimming LSC has has asked the state to reconsider pool closures.

Texas has reported 36,932 confirmed cases of coronavirus leading to 1,044 deaths. This week, as the number of deaths are growing in Dallas, the state as a whole has reported 31 deaths so far on Friday.

Leave a Reply

13 Comment threads
37 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
25 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Mr. F

seems like a bad idea

MD swimdad

So tell us what your end game is for this. It isn’t going away and we now have a very good idea of how dangerous it is and who it affects. About half the people who get it are asymptomatic so we can’t trace it. Many countries and states are realizing that we have to live with it intelligently. That does not mean keeping all our “nonessential” businesses closed and healthy people isolated for a year or more until there is a vaccine. Good for TX and the swim clubs starting to reopen slowly.


As long as it’s a closely controlled environment and kids stay at opposite ends of the pool in each lane, the benefits of kids being able to exercise and stay fit might well outweigh the minimal risk. But opening up businesses without a well organized plan is a mistake. The only reason we’re doing as well as we are now (which in many cities is very poorly) is due to social distancing measures. Look at Singapore (overlooked clusters in their migrant worker population) and Sweden (no lockdown and doing much much worse than their neighbors) as examples of what not to do. Countries like Hong Kong and New Zealand have almost gotten it under control because they locked down to… Read more »

MD swimdad

You don’t seem to understand the that the percentage of asymptomatic cases (see the USS Teddy R and TN prison tests and multiple antibody studies) makes it impossible to track every case. Should at risk people be riding crowded subways- of course not. Should nursing homes be checking staff vigorously and preventing visitors-yes. Dallas is not NYC. A little common sense and personal responsibility should let us start getting back to normal now rather than later. There really is no benefit to waiting. The problem now is the hysteria regarding the virus is going to be compounded by fear of litigation and slow opening further.


The countries doing that are getting slammed right now(Sweden). What’s an acceptable death count for you? Do we just live with the inevitable 100,000+ deaths we’re now going to see by the end of this month or early June? It won’t stop there unlike what most people believe.

My worry is pretty easy. You have the most powerful sport in the country that is supposed to be holding Rookie mini-camp right now and they aren’t taking any chances. Why should swimming be the same? I just think people have their priorities all wrong here.

MD swimdad

So when should we reopen? It isn’t going to stop no matter what we do. No states are meeting the irrational goals that were set for case declines and tracing. States are reopening because they realize the risk to the general population and the concern of overwhelming hospitals is overstated and the quarantine measures are not working the way they had hoped. The cure is worse than the disease. The country needs to be fully reopened before September. The best way is to start slowly now and adjust as we go. If you want to continue a lock down until the virus goes away or a vaccine is available that’s your choice. The country can’t do that and people are… Read more »


You’re missing the point. Whether you like it or not, swimming is non essential. There’s nothing about it that makes it essential or a reason to rush into reopening. The reason I made the comparison to football was to help you understand how difficult it’s going to be to reopen non-essential sports. The nfl has the ability to test, treat, isolate and control this better than anywhere else in the US. They were supposed to be starting rookie-mini camp but decided against it as it was too much of a risk. How does that make you believe that swimming is a safe thing to push? All it’s going to take is for one athlete to get it and then pass… Read more »


You really like your narrative Swammer. How’s New York doing under lockdown? How’s Georgia doing? I know, we all felt like we were help saving lives. We weren’t. Many governments took unprecedented action with ZERO scientific backing.

Look up groupthink. I’m not sure how close we are to herd immunity but we reached herd mentality a while ago.


So since you read up on conspiracy theories, that means I’m in the groupthink? Take NY away from our country data and we’re still climbing. That’s data. NYC was on strict lockdown and they’re heavily on the decline.

In the end, I have no control over what the country does. I can just control my athletes and I’m glad I have the ability to do that. I just hope that we aren’t in a situation as a swimming community where we look back and realize we made a mistake thinking we had to rush into the water just for the sake of doing it.


conspiracy is a legal term. Why is that? Because conspiracies regularly happen.

What’s not a conspiracy is there were 640,000 deaths from malaria last year in the 3rd world. Nobody cared. Now that this problem has hit the first world, 1.5% of the worlds death out of all deaths in 2020 has caused a worldwide shutdown.

It’s not about safe, it’s about control.


Going by your logic, though, we shouldn’t open anything until it’s entirely eradicated. That’s just simply unrealistic.

The whole reason those pro sports are working the way they are is due to the fear of the media backlash. Heck, look at how the media initially handled the NFL doing things virtually. And yet, the NFL pushed forward and moved on and it worked.

Now we have the UFC and Bundesliga leading the way in how to re-open professional sports.

Meanwhile, the data is rolling in more and more with the open states that…the “OMG they’re screwed” narrative just isn’t how it’s actually happening.


Sweden is already over the hump. Quit reading headlines. Dig a little deeper. 60% of their deaths are those over aged 86 and older. 90% of us deaths the last 10 days are in nursing homes. How will swimmers not practicing prevent nursing home deaths?


Beefed up testing and contact tracing. It’s what China and South Korea and other countries are doing to try to “control” this or “box it in”. The hammer and scalpel approach is what they’ve been preaching all along. The hammer is the big blunt instrument that just tries to stop the spread (everybody shelter in place and assume everyone has it). The scalpel can then be taken out and take a more targeted and surgical approach (testing everyone suspected of having it and tracing the spread back through those they’ve been in contact with, testing those folks as well to see who might have gotten it, and quarantining/treating all of them). Under that approach you can start to open more… Read more »


40 of the 50 states have tested more per capita than South Korea ….. check on world o meter


Our son’s club starts practices on Monday in Round Rock, Texas, every weekday, outdoor pools. 2 swimmers per lane, opposite ends. Boys and girls in separate times. Lockers will be desinfected after each practice/group, but only urinals and stalls available for use. Come ready and leave from the pool straight home.

If coaches enforce distancing outside pool, I am comfortable with that. Little chance of infection outdoors. Most infections happen within families and prolonged exposures in closed spaces. However, if boys start fooling around I will put a stop on practices for our son right away.

Realistic Papa

Boys will be boys


Seems like a PSYCHODAD wouldn’t shy away from some fooling around?


“Most infections happen within families and in closed spaces.” Data please.


CDC: Exposure to COVID-19: Levels of Risk Household Close Contact. Lives with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. This carries the highest risk of transmitting the infection. Other Close Contact. The CDC defines 6 feet as how far coughing can spread the virus. How long the close contact lasts can also be important. Prolonged close contact is defined as more that 10 minutes. Close contact includes kissing, hugging or sharing eating and drinking utensils. It also includes close conversations. Direct contact with secretions with a person with COVID-19 is also close contact. Includes being in the same childcare room, classroom or carpool. These exposures are usually lower risk than living with an infected person. In Same Building – Low… Read more »


Tennessee officials launched an effort to test all state prison inmates and prison staff for COVID-19 on May 4, and they say that many inmates and staff that tested positive for the virus have been asymptomatic.

“The good news is about 98 percent of them are completely asymptomatic,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey. “They’re well. They feel good.”

She said the fact that they’re asymptomatic at such a high rate is “a bit unusual”.

What exactly are you worried about here? 98% asymptomatic in this particular case.


Interesting stats if accurate. Sounds like prison condition has it’s benefits. No need for more early release.


psychodad, wait. youre saying that 2 kids per lane is distancing? dont they swim right past each other? how is that 6′ or near safely distanced? ive also heard of ‘rules’ like no spitting in the water, which if youve ever swam you know thats impossible. idk how anything over 1 per lane is close to safe.


When are colleges sport facilities opening? By Fall?


I wouldn’t count on it. Only way you bring back athletes is if you bring back all students. Whenever that decision is made, you’ll know about college sport facilities


There’s already some schools who have explicitly stated that they’re opening in June (Iowa has said that). It’s going to be driven by P5 football, but that’s going to happen


Yeah I wouldn’t be sure about this either. My younger sister’s university just sent the student body an email telling them that there is a high possibility that classes will stay online in the Fall…


That’s not what most of the other schools are saying that have publicly commented.


If I’m running a business(University) then I’m telling everyone our plan is to be full go in the fall. That way we don’t get an abundance of transfers, sitting our semesters etc. If I am running a business, I’m telling everyone we’re good to go until I absolutely have to make the call. Less students leave and more are locked into a semester and are paying something even if it’s a percentage of full tuition and fees. Don’t forget that only a couple months ago the Big East commissioner said the tournament was on until after the first half of the first game and called it. They will absolutely wait until the last minute if it comes to that. You… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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, …

Read More »