As we continue following social distancing protocols and work towards a re-opened society, we are continually asking ourselves what activities are safe to continue doing that were once part of everyday life. All public gathering places have reevaluated their capacities, put new regulations in place and some have even closed down until further notice. We’re happy to report that public pools are safe to continue enjoying, but there are a few measurements you must put into place as an owner or manager of a public swimming pool.
Yes, outdoor pool season is coming to a close, but people are still hoping to make use of indoor pools, like at your local health club. The safety of others is always going to be any public aquatic venue’s top priority, and with the continuation of COVID-19, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to provide visitors with the tools and structure they need to prevent the spread of the virus.
Public Pool Safety Tips
To answer the most important question regarding swimming pools’ safety amid COVID-19, the CDC reports that there is no evidence that the virus can be spread through recreational waters. The CDC also provides helpful guidelines that can help you better enforce social distancing and promote other preventative behaviors. However, as a public venue, any decisions about implementing new regulations must be discussed and agreed upon with local health officials.
The first change you can make at your public pool to encourage safe, recreational use is not actually a change at all from what we’ve been practicing. The same hygiene practices we’ve been utilizing translate well as pool safety guidelines. From encouraging 20-second hand washing to wearing masks, both patrons and employees will serve well to continue practicing these behaviors while at the public pool when appropriate. You should also provide ample soap and install hand sanitizing stations throughout the pool. Just remember, only provide sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to adequately eliminate bacteria.
Similarly to restaurants, creating a smaller capacity limit will encourage even less people-to-people interaction. This also goes for any pool staff. By monitoring the number of people visiting the pool at once, you’re reducing the likelihood of spreading the virus and can better monitor people’s adherence to new regulations. The decided upon capacity is determined by several factors, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The depth and length of the pool, the length of the deck area and any influencing local ordinances are all considered when setting the final capacity limit.
How To Properly Social Distance
When you last visited the grocery store, you probably noticed a lot of signage posted about encouraging a 6-foot distance between yourself and someone else. You can do the same at your public pool, but there are even more effective methods to ensure people remain distant from one another. You can designate swimming lanes to keep people from swimming too close to one another and indicate where people can safely stand in lines with tape. One of the more effective ways to keep people apart is reconfiguring the pool chair layout. The layout area is generally a free-for-all, but mapping out 6 feet of distance in any direction from one pool chair to the next, it will discourage people from grouping together.
Effective Cleaning and Maintenance
The one thing you have complete and total control over when it comes to swimming pool safety is the regular cleaning and maintenance of your public pool. Beginning each day with debris and bacteria-free environment is the first line of defense in keeping everyone protected. For example, make sure to create a system for separating used furniture and equipment from ones that have been disinfected to avoid cross-contamination. However, that only represents a single aspect of maintaining a public pool during disruptive times.
Commercial pool upkeep is a massive undertaking as it is without the presence of the virus, which is why enlisting the help of experts can help you better protect your patrons and employees. Pool maintenance professionals, like the ones at Sunset Pools & Spas can dedicate time to properly disinfect all frequently touched surfaces and have insight into which EPA-approved disinfectants are best for your public pool. They can also perform general safety checks to look out for potential hazards as part of their services. As an added bonus, they can customize a maintenance schedule that staggers your pool’s hours of operation. Between inspecting chlorine and pH levels and conducting thorough cleanings, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Get the Pool Help You Need
Navigating the management and operations of a public pool can be tricky during a pandemic. Luckily, professional pool maintenance services have the know-how to ensure that your public pool is properly sanitized and ready to be enjoyed. Contact us or schedule a consultation.