The states of Virginia and Delaware in the mid-Atlantic region are the latest to allow some easing of restrictions on pools. While Delaware has a relatively-small population, swimming or otherwise, Virginia is home to a huge concentration of swimmers, both recreational and otherwise.
In Virginia, fitness centers and gyms can open as of Friday for outdoor activities only, while indoor activities are still barred. This includes allowing outdoor pools to open for lap swimming only with a limit of 1 person per lane.
This is part of phase 1 of the state’s recovery plan that also allows restaurants, bars, and wineries to reopen at 50% capacity with no more than 10 people seated together and space of at least 6 feet between tables.
Many of the area’s most populous cities and counties, however, remain under phase 0 restrictions, which is a total shutdown. That includes Northern Virginia counties of Loudoun, Fairfax, Accomack and Prince William, plus the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, and Richmond that are responsible for most of the states positive tests for coronavirus. These areas are also responsible for the state’s biggest population centers, though hubs in Virginia Beach and Norfolk will be allowed to reopen.
A rainy week ahead could inhibit the actual return to swimming in Virginia under these new guidelines, though temperatures are beginning to climb into the 80s, so there should be some swimming available between rain.
Earlier this month, the Northern Virginia Swim League, one of the largest summer swim leagues in the country, announced that it would be cancelling its summer 2020 season.
Virginia has recorded almost 30,000 cases of coronavirus infection through May 15; Friday also saw the state pass a death toll of 1,000.
Delaware, with a population of just under 1 million that ranks it 45th out of 50 states, will reopen community pools (and beaches) in time for Memorial Day weekend. That echos the orders of neighboring New Jersey, with which Delaware shares a continuous beach ecosystem.
The state will still, however, have a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for people coming from other states and a ban on short-term rentals remains in effect. Reports from the state are that police are pulling over anybody without a Delaware license plate and either ordering a 14-day quarantine or returning them out-of-state.
Beaches and community pools can officially reopen at 5PM on Friday, May 22. Pools are limited to 20 percent of regular capacity, and swim lessons and swim team practices are not allowed.
Delaware has recorded 7,373 cases of coronavirus with 271 deaths. New cases there have begun to fall after a late-April spike. Delaware has fared worse than other states with a similar population largely because it has a much denser population than less-populated, but larger, states like Alaska, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.
Updated List of Pool Reopenings
- Alabama – 50% capacity (May 11)
- Alaska – 50% capacity
- Arizona – 50% capacity (May 15)
- Arkansas – 50% capacity (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)
- Mississippi – six feet apart
- Ohio – CDC Guidelines (May 26)
- South Carolina – Smaller of 20%/5 people per 1000 square feet (May 18)
- Texas – 25% capacity
- Wyoming – 1 person per lane