DENVER (CBS4) – With social distancing, face mask requirements and a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people during the coronavirus pandemic, this summer will look a lot different than what we’re used to in Colorado.
Mom Teresa Ish is looking for a break, “We are ready to get back in the pool. My daughter is a competitive swimmer.”
She’s just one of the parents and kids wondering when will pools re-open.
That’s a tough call. Denver is saying not yet; in fact, the city said to our questions, is still has no date for re-opening pools. In Englewood, where the city operates Pirate’s Cove water park, they are targeting June 7.
“We know that life’s going to be a little bit different moving forward and stuff,” says Brad Anderson, facility supervisor of aquatics for the City of Englewood.
They are trying to figure out what capacity they may allow.
The good news for pool operators is that the water should be fine.
“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pool water or hot tubs which are popular also,” says Anderson.
He’s backed up by the CDC.
“Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water,” states the CDC.
But that’s probably the easy part. It’s the surfaces and spaces that worry people like Anderson.
“We’ve upped the number of times the restrooms will be disinfected, also the deck itself with pool chairs, with any of the pool equipment.”
Changing rooms and restrooms are a big concern.
At the iconic Glenwood Hot Springs, managers are trying to figure out a way for people to get through changing and shower areas. They’ll encourage people to come ready and shower somewhere else. They plan to close alternating shower and toilet stalls says director of operations Kevin Flohr.
“People’s willingness” will likely become an issue. They will have to maintain distancing in the pools and employees will be ensuring that people who are close together are in the same group. The resort still has to take its plan to the county to seek approval, which it hopes to do late this week. After approval, they’d then set an opening date.
As Pirates Cove works to get ready Anderson says, “We’re still up in the air are we going to allow the lounge chairs that we have on site to be used or often are we going to disinfect them when somebody uses them?”
The hot sun will help, because UV rays also knock out the virus. But experts have given CBS4 a number of 20 minutes in direct sunlight, which would be difficult to time. And pool management people are worried about assigning lifeguards to duties monitoring people and surfaces when they should have their eyes on the water. Anderson is even calculating the danger if pools don’t open.
“That’s starting to become a question that if pools shut down, the people are definitely going to go out to the lakes and streams and cool off. Are we safe there?”
The CDC has made no judgement on that safety yet, but experts do believe the water itself will mean the virus will be at least dispersed. It’s proximity and exhalations that could prove challenging there.
So Memorial Day is a difficult target to hit for the opening of pools that bring the sounds of glee from children. Pools are likely to be silent, even though the water will be safe.
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