CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — Typically on Memorial Day weekend area pools would be opening up but at least one Chesterfield community pool will remain closed this summer while others are still waiting and working on their plans.
The CDC says there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through water. Dr Gonzalo Bearman, chief of the division of infectious diseases at VCU Medical Center agrees. He told 8News that, “coronavirus is not a waterborne infection, so it cannot spread in the pool or water sources.”
Bearman says chlorine can kill the coronavirus, “chlorine is virucidal, so it kills viruses bacteria, it also kills certain parasites or protozoans.”
Still in Chesterfield, the Brandermill Community Association’s board voted Thursday night not to open their pools this season.
“It was a hard decision made with a lot of deliberation but it was made with keeping the health and safety of the community in mind,” 8News was told.
While chlorine may kill covid, the concern is crowds in a public pool.
“If there’s crowding within a pool and you are close to others as you come up for air, there is certainly the potential for transmission,” Dr. Bearman explained.
In Richmond, the city pools offer children a safe place to cool off and recreate. The city’s department of Parks and Rec told 8News that Richmond is still working on its plan for outdoor pools.
The Woodmont Recreation Association, a community center in Bon Air, said they are planning to open by mid-June but will not have indoor activities or food available this summer.
“We are planning to open by Mid-June, hoping for the second weekend in June. We plan to not have a snack bar, or indoor activities outside of bathrooms,” a Woodmont representative told 8News on Friday. “Additionally we will be placing seating on the pool deck at 10-feet apart. If needed we will do sign up system similar to restaurant reservations. We are very much hoping the state will provide some guidance at some point.” Dr. Bearman calls their plan prudent.
The president of the pool board at Settler’s Landing Pool in Bon Air told 8News they have been meeting weekly and are following the direction of the governor, the Virginia Department of Health and CDC. Their plans for exercise purposes, 8News was told, includes, “Lap swimming only and we are working to include our youth swim team. That is all. All with limited capacity as directed. So 10 or less.”
Settler’s Landing hopes once the stay-at-home order is lifted or phase two of the reopening begins that they can open following those standards.
“We have already completed a mock setup with required spacing to see if we could house 50 people within guidelines. We are comfortable with doing that when the time comes. Safety and sanitation are our top priorities,” 8News was told.
8News is waiting to hear back from some other public pools in the area. Dr. Bearman says if pools are to open, “I would strongly urge and recommend that social distancing take place that you not go to full capacity, maybe half to third capacity.”
Both Dr. Bearman and the CDC also advise swimmers to not share goggles, nose clips, snorkels, snacks, utensils or drinks. They say stay 6 feet apart and wear a mask out of the pool. And, remember to keep washing your hands.
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