Are Public Pools Going To Be Open This Summer?

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
It might feel like a premature question now, but as shelter-in-place orders start to extend into the summer in some states while others plan on opening up, it's a fair question to ask: Are public pools going to open? We're coming up on Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of the summer and the whispers about the possibilities of reopening are swelling into a roar in some states.
The Center for Disease Control published a series of tips and considerations for pool safety for those who have made up their minds about going to public pools. It recommends wearing a mask when you walk around but not when you swim and making sure to keep your distance in and out of the water.
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We can probably all agree that public pools are in no way essential, but the staff and lifeguards that are required to make them safe are non-negotiables. Then there are the children: Most city-dwelling families have very limited outdoor space, and with summer camps and programs all over the country being canceled, parents are looking down the barrel of a sweaty summer working from home without so much as a lesson to keep children busy. Are public pools even an option?
It all depends on where you live. Take a look at the status of your county social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders. Some places still have a cap on the number of people allowed to gather in public places, which will impact whether your local pool will open or not.
According to the CDC, "aquatic venues," such as public pools and water parks, are owned and operated by any number of entities: local governments, gyms, homeowner's associations, apartment complexes, schools, or water parks. It's up to these people to work closely with their local health officials in making educated decisions when it comes to reopening. It is also in the hands of specific owners to apply the CDC's guidelines and adjust for locally-specific variations.
This is likely not the perfectly neat answer anyone was looking for, but our current reality demands measured and considered decisions be made as we go. In the meantime, now is a good time to look into alternatives like inflatable pools, water balloon fights, water guns, sprinklers, and other water-centric activities to enjoy at home.
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