The pool industry is already feeling the effects of the Coronavirus response protocols. Now, the summer season is almost here. Our health departments or governing bodies have not released the protocols for operating your pool. This uncertainty could be making it difficult to prepare for opening. We can learn the best response protocols from other industries and adapt them to our industry.
Following the Science
Although we don’t know what the health department will require regarding your pool area, we can implement a few practices at our pools this summer based on the scientific data. We’ll be discussing the following in this article:
- Social Distancing
- Face masks
- Changeable Spaces
- Signage and Announcements
- Pool Chemistry
- Lane Separation
- Queuing for Diving/Splash area
- Flotation Devices, toys, etc.
- Deck Furniture
- Local Requirements
Let’s get started and see what the summer season might look like.
Swimming Pools and Social Distancing
Understanding the “social distancing circle” is best to approach social distancing in your pool or pool area. The social distancing radius is the area around each guest equal to 6′ around all 360 degrees. This is how we calculate it:
We now know that social separation requires one person for every 113 square feet. We can now measure the area of our pool. Let’s take, for example, a pool that measures 65 feet in length and 45 feet in width.
All we need to do now is divide our pool area square footage by our social distancing square footage of 113.
This calculation allows people to have fun in the pool and area without complying with social distancing rules. Social distancing is just one piece of the puzzle.
Many states and counties require that face masks be worn, including pool areas and public places. While wearing a mask to the pool can cause you to develop a skewed look, it’s not the only problem. It’s another matter to wear a mask in the pool.
Although it can be annoying, Pool Training Academy believes that it will be necessary for other areas than the pool. The CDC advises against wearing masks in the water because it makes breathing through a moist mask more difficult.
Lifeguards and staff will also likely require face masks.
The most controversial and confusing areas to open a strategy are changing spaces and toilets. These spaces have a few points to be aware of:
Taking the social distance square footage and dividing the changing area or bathroom square footage can give a good idea of how much space you have.
Keeping 6 feet between lockers is a great way to ensure social separation. Some properties might not provide lockers but require guests to be fully dressed and ready to swim.
Spacing 6′ between available urinals is also recommended.
Shower facilities should be measured and divided by the social distance circle dimensions.
It is highly recommended that you clean
These areas are also regularly cleaned by attendants.
Stocking Sanitary Supplies
Proper hand washing will be encouraged by keeping plenty of soap and paper towels in the pool area.
It’s also recommended that guests use some hand sanitizer.
Some may decide to eliminate any changing area and allow guests to use the restrooms and showers.
Signage and Announcements
Social distancing signs should be posted in the changing rooms, bathrooms, and pool area to remind employees how to be as safe as possible while lounging and working.
A warning about the danger of COVID-19 transmission in public areas should be posted. Operators do everything possible to ensure safety, but it is important to remind people that there is no 100% safe environment.
It is important to ensure that your pool water has a chlorine level between 3.75ppm and 4.5ppm. This will prevent any COVID-19 from being inhaled onto the water surface. The CDC does not believe that COVID-19 can pass through water. Click here for more information on the effects of chlorine on COVID-19.
Lap Lane Separation
Swimming laps can be a great way of retraining, and it is also a very competitive sport. To meet coronavirus standards, it is important to ensure that lap swimmers are separated by 6 feet. To ensure this distance, we recommend that you open every other lane.
Also, traditional competitions and swim meets are likely to be canceled this summer. Many competitive clubs have begun to change their operations by holding “remote meet” events where swimmers’ best times are recorded and compared.
Any queuing areas should be marked on the ground or deck to ensure social distancing.
Flotation Devices, toys, etc
You strongly recommend that you do away with any shared or communal flotation devices on your property. If not cleaned between users, porous pool noodles or the like could risk transmission. Guests who bring their flotation toys or devices should not share them with anyone else.
Another complicated topic is deck furniture. Many types of furniture can be found at the pool’s side, with some being more socially distancing than others. Let’s take a look at the following options.
Pool Training Academy suggests that your lounge chairs be spaced 6′ apart. You can also tape boundaries around the chairs to ensure that they meet this 6′ standard. The lounge chairs must not be moved. Only people who live together can share a space for a lounge chair.
It is best to limit the number of people who use your table. These spaces should not be shared with anyone else.
It is also a good idea to provide disinfecting wipes for guests to wipe down the lounge chairs, deck chairs and tables, and any other surfaces that may be touched while using the pool. Some properties might also periodically spray disinfectant solutions over deck furniture to ensure disinfection.
It is important to remember that this article is based on scientific data, industry-specific health measures, and common sense. However, you must adhere to all local and state regulations whenever they are published.
Become a Professional Pool Operator
Even if you are not in a pandemic situation, it can be challenging to navigate the waters of your pool safely and efficiently. It takes more training to safely manage and maintain an aquatic facility than you can see on YouTube or this article. There are many options available to learn more about keeping your swimmers safe. CPO classes with Pool Training Academy are one of the options. CPO(r), or Certified Pool Operator, is one of the best methods to become an expert in pool management. This Certification is required in many states to operate a spa or pool. Pool Training Academy is the number one CPO(r) provider, Certification.