CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — As we enter Phase Two in Virginia, swimming pools can open to more under restrictions. Opening community pools is a challenge in the pandemic. While the Centers for Disease Control says chlorine kills the coronavirus, it’s the air and space swimmers share that can still be a concern.
At Settler’s Landing Pool in Chesterfield County the pool board and manager have been planning for weeks how to open safely. They’ve decided they are going to wait for the governor’s shelter-at-home order to be lifted and the plan is to open June 13.
In preparation, they’ve been in constant contact with the CDC, talking with them, reviewing guidelines and even watching a webinar on what precautions to take when opening a pool in a pandemic.
On Friday, plans were moving forward. The pool was getting filled with water, the deck is being painted and sanitizer is now a poolside staple.
“Common areas have to be cleaned once an hour at least. We are also educating and encouraging our members kind of like when you are at the gym to wipe down your equipment after you use it,” said Anne Hampton.
Hampton is the president of the pool board at Settler’s Landing Pool. She told 8News everyone who checks in at the pool will have to answer a few health questions as part of a screening process before they can enter. If they are feeling sick, they will be asked to go home.
Currently, pools can only open for exercise or swim instruction. “So right now, nothing is recreational. We have a sliding board over there, so we have to have that closed down,” explained Hampton.
The community pool is limited to 50 or less. Those wishing to swim laps will need to sign up online. Hampton says, “You can have up to three people in a lane.”
Pool manager Jackson Phillips could be seen Friday hanging signs around the pool reminding guests to keep their distance and wear a mask when out of the water.
“We will be really spread out in the pool as well as outside the pool,” Phillips said.
On the pool deck there’s lots of spacing this year. Phillips has worked to reconfigure seating.
“We usually have 75 or 100 lounge chairs around the pool but this year we’re only having about 15 to 20. Everything is 6 feet apart,” he said.
Swim team is still on this summer. “We will not be competing but it’s very important that we teach those skills on how to swim and how to be a good swimmer,” Hampton said.
Practice will be staggered with smaller groups. Parents will not be allowed in to watch, they must stay in the car. Settler’s Landing Pool is regularly updating members on it Facebook page.
“We want to take every precaution that we can,” Hampton said.
Of course, it costs money to open a pool. Fortunately, Settler’s Landing has had a lot of help from its members and community. Some real estate agents have even helped with cash donations and donations of hand sanitizer.
We are hearing other area pools are struggling with membership in the pandemic and are still deciding if they will open. The Brandermill Community decided several weeks ago it will not be opening its pools. 8News checked back in with Richmond Parks and Rec and was told Richmond still hasn’t decided on a plan for its city pools.
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