Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines for operating swimming pools during the coronavirus pandemic. With the start of summer, many will be looking to facilities to cool off
“There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas,” the CDC said on its website. “Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”
Nevertheless, the agency said, “While there is ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is important for individuals as well as owners and operators of these facilities to take steps to ensure health and safety.”
The CDC tailored the following instructions toward pools operated by local governments, apartment complexes, homeowners associations, schools, water parks and gyms. The guidelines do not specifically apply to private pools or those operated by hotels, cruise lines and other travel-related businesses.
The CDC Suggests:
- Mask up until you get in the pool
- Stay 6 feet apart both in and out of the water
- Cover your coughs
- Make sure the pool staff is disinfecting high-touch areas
- Do NOT share goggles or other swimming gear
- Listen to PA announcements for safety precautions
- Make sure pool staff are practicing safe hygiene as well
Public pool operators should have a plan to isolate staff or patrons with symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath and fever, and transport them to their homes or health care provider, if needed.
At least one person should be designated as the COVID-19 point of contact. That person should respond to all virus-related concerns and all staff should know how to reach that person.
The local health authorities should also immediately be notified of any COVID-19 cases and staff and patrons should be notified of potential exposure within the boundaries of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Any employee or patron who has tested positive for COVID-19, displays symptoms or has been around anyone with the disease in the last two weeks should not enter the facility until they have safely ended their 14-day isolation.
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