A State-by-State Glance at Pool Reopenings in the COVID-19 Pandemic


A State-By-State Overview of U.S. Pool Reopening During COVID-19

It’s been more than three months since the normal world came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 crisis. In that time, many states have absorbed the first wave of the coronavirus and stabilized their number of cases. With that comes the chance to return to business, and with summer approaching, that means opening pools for their variety of uses – for competitive and recreational swimmers, for exercise and for lessons.

At Swimming World, we’ve collected an overview of the state of swimming in the States at the moment.

A couple of notes: Almost all states have opened their aquatic facilities to some extent. Many are still operating at diminished capacities, which is in keeping with USA Swimming guidance. Common conditions for opening include reduced or no lockering/shower facilities, enhanced sanitizing, limits on group size to less than 10 to 20, spacing of potential congregation spots like furniture and prohibitions on sharing equipment. Many states also require call-ahead reservations.

The other question is whether states differentiate between indoor or outdoor facilities. Most openings concern public outdoor pools first for their lower risk profile and greater capacity, but not all states have clear delineations in their policies.

For a larger overview of the state of reopening, media outlets like the New York Times, CNN and NPR have collected state-by-state picture accounts of reopening. (Information will be updated as the conditions change.)

Alabama opened May 1.

Alaska opened at 50 percent capacity as part of Phase 2 as of May 8.

Arizona opened May 13.

Arkansas opened June 1.

California pools can open in Phase 3 as of June 12. Opening remains subject to local oversight on a county-by-county basis.

Colorado opened June 5.

Connecticut pools opened June 17 (following a previous June 10 opening for lifeguard training only).

Delaware opened May 22.

Florida’s government has generally abdicated control of reopening, with many industries able to reopen in some form as of May 4. That’s allowed local health authorities to move forward with openings on a county-by-county basis.

Georgia opened May 13, with deference to local rules.

Hawaii has opened its pools on a local (i.e. by island) basis. Outdoor pools in Kauai opened May 22, Honolulu’s were cleared to open May 28 and Maui followed June 1.

Idaho opened May 30 as part of Stage 3 (pools had originally been listed in Stage 4).

Illinois opened “state-licensed facilities” as of June 8.

Indiana opened May 22 as state moved into its third stage of reopening.

Iowa opened June 12.

Kansas’s opening of pools falls under Phase 3 of its Ad Astra plan. Reopening is regional/county-based, and counties began entering Phase 3 on June 8.

Kentucky public pools will be able to reopen June 29. Other pools in the state have been able to open earlier.

Louisiana opened as part of the state’s move into Phase 2 on June 5. It will apply even as the entry into Phase 3 is delayed.

Maine allowed pools to reopen in Stage 2 (with gyms and fitness facilities) in most counties on June 12. By June 17, all counties could open pools.

Maryland pools opened May 29 at 25 percent capacity. It was increased to 50 percent on June 12.

Massachusetts opened as part of Phase 2 of its recovery plan June 8.

Michigan opened pools as of June 8.

Minnesota opened June 10.

Mississippi opened May 15.

Missouri allowed all businesses, including pools, to open as of May 1 provided they adhered to social distancing restrictions. The state is full reopened as of June 16 in Phase 2.

Montana opened in Phase 2 on June 1.

Nebraska opened June 1, with some counties opening at a later date.

Nevada opened May 29 as the state entered Phase 2.

New Hampshire opened June 15.

New Jersey opened on outdoor basis on June 22 by order of Gov. Phil Murphy.

New Mexico opened pools specifically “at gyms” as of June 1.

New York is still TBD and subject to local guidance depending on progression of the disease in the state. Pools appear to be under “recreation,” which wouldn’t ordinarily open until Phase 4 of the state’s plan, which no region has yet reached.

North Carolina opened May 22 under interim guidance. The half-capacity applies even as Phase 2 guidelines are extended into July.

North Dakota has grouped pools in its “moderate risk” phase, which most of the state advanced to in May. Opening of public pools has largely been left over to local jurisdiction within that framework.

Ohio opened on May 26.

Oklahoma opened May 1 with special guidance for pools. Progressing into Phase 3 has lifted many restrictions on capacity, etc.

Oregon pools began opening June 5 as the state entered Phase 2, which occurred on a county-by-county basis.

Pennsylvania pools can open at limited capacity when counties reach the yellow phase, which all of the state’s counties attained by June 5.

Rhode Island opened June 1 as part of Phase 2 of the state’s recovery plan with no more than 15 people inside a facility.

South Carolina opened May 18.

South Dakota had no stay-at-home order in place, giving to local areas latitude to open as soon as May 1.

Tennessee’s convoluted reopening allowed activities based on social distancing/group size as of May 22. It has specific swimming pool regulations without a clear picture of where in the larger guidance they actually fit.

Texas opened at 25 percent capacity May 8.

Utah opened May 16 as the state entered the low-risk designation, though some more densely populated counties had to wait longer to open.

Vermont opened by state order on May 19.

Virginia opened pools as part of Phase 2 on June 5. Excepted from that were Northern Virginia counties and Richmond, which moved to reopen June 12. Swimming pools can open for recreation July 1 in Phase 3 in Northern Virginia.

Washington opened at 25 percent capacity in “modified Phase 1” by immediate effect June 10. Ordinance has previously required attaining Stage 3 for the pools to open.

West Virginia opened May 30.

Wisconsin has left pool opening up to local guidance.

Wyoming opened under orders that have since been modified June 15.

Swimming Through a Pandemic

The postponements and cancellations wrought by COVID-19 haven’t just affected the Olympics and the ranks of elite swimmers. They’ve trickled down to neighborhood clubs and summer youth leagues, affecting thousands of recreational and competitive swimmers alike. Here is some of our coverage of COVID-19’s effect on the American summer swimming calendar.

Resources for returning to the pool in the COVID-19 era

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  1. Amanda Bouten Welch

    Our pool reopened June 15 and then closed again June 16th due to an outbreak of 200 cases in two days in our county 🙁 we went from 6-242 in one week.

  2. Kim Stracensky Nork

    NJ Governor Murphy has not reinstated the opening of indoor pools at this time. Most of the competitive swimming programs are held in indoor aquatic centers. We are still waiting for a date they can go back with a detailed Covid plan.

    • Todd Meyer

      Riverside County CA – outdoor pools still closed

  3. avatar

    I would love to see an update on how different states are opening INDOOR pools. I’m guessing that most of the dates listed are for outdoor pool openings. As the comment from NJ mentioned, many competitive programs use indoor facilities all year.

  4. Kelly Hoffman Elliott

    Montgomery County (the largest county in Maryland) has not opened yet. They are able to open tomorrow at 5 PM but none of them are ready. I guess 16 weeks wasn’t enough time for them to prepare…

    • Jennifer Heron

      Kelly Hoffman Elliott so frustrating. All of Columbia’s 23 pools aren’t opening this summer. We swim for a club team in a college campus and this is our 2nd week back in the water. We are renting small private outdoor pools. My kids went from winning states in March to “almost dying” the first day after 15 laps after 3 months. I feel so bad for all the swimmers. Many sports can be done during quarantine, just not swimming….

    • Kate Stowell

      We’re in Virginia Beach and the first two weeks back were rough for my swimmers too! They’re so happy to be in the water again and I’m glad it sounds like a majority of regions are opening up now.

  5. Katherine Hillock Mowid

    Michigan has only allowed outdoor pools to open (most of which are private membership). Public pools are not open in most areas. Indoor pools are not allowed to open until phase 5

    • J David Hillery

      Katherine Hillock Mowid Just read about U of Michigan team. 😭

    • Kristin Matteson

      Melissa Freehill No indoor pools have been opened in New York State yet. And I haven’t seen one outdoor pool open either.

    • Melissa Freehill

      Kristin Matteson My pool is open and another in my county. We started practice this week. Several others in our region open Monday.

    • Kristin Matteson

      Melissa Freehill must be outdoor pools. Nothing open in Erie county

  6. Sandy Pickering Drake

    This is not quite accurate. Hawaii opened county pools to public. You have to be 13 or over. You have to call 48 hours in advanced to make a reservation for 45 minutes. No walk ins even if there is only one person in the pool. Polls still not open for swim clubs or diving teams.

  7. Therese Fields

    Thus information is inaccurate- we in NJ as Kim Nork said are still waiting for Gov Murphy to open indoor pools.

  8. Lisa Ceddia

    In Ohio many municipal owned outdoor pools chose not to open. Most summer only teams are not practicing. Most pools indoor & out require reservations.

    • avatar

      I am in Cincinnati. Most summer only teams are having practice but either no meets or virtual meets. My team is doing intersquad meets.

  9. Mary Perczak

    Nope Michigan is outdoor pools only so far and 90% of our pools are indoor so not many teams working out.

  10. avatar

    Please post indoor pool openings

  11. Katherine Hillock Mowid

    Michigan has only allowed outdoor pools to open. Most of which are membership required pools, they are not available to just anyone. Most club teams use indoor pools…..Michigan is far from being back in the water 😡😩

  12. Aron Eslinger

    Oregon pools are not open for a majority of the state. Some counties on the eastern side of the state have opened, but that is a very small number.

    • Amanda Bouten Welch

      Eastern OR here…our town pool opened for two days, but a church outbreak shut everything down again 🙁

    • Jennifer Malstrom-Sicard

      Aron Eslinger I was totally thinking how inaccurate (and frustrating) this was for Oregon. Half the state population lives in trimet, which has no end in site of being in phase 1 with no pools. Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north (Washington) had their pools open in phase 1 when it had been scheduled for their phase 3, because clubs petitioned and the governor used common sense. Open our pools!!!

    • Aron Eslinger

      Jennifer Malstrom-Sicard we have sent letters to governer too. They had shut down outdoor pools for the season months ago. Many community/government run pools will not open this summer.

    • Jennifer Malstrom-Sicard

      Aron Eslinger I know! I’ve signed the petitions and sent an email myself! I know Portland public pools are closed but I don’t think THPRD has made that decision yet. I work out at a private club and I know they are dying to open their pools.

  13. Tina DeLong

    Wisconsin has to follow health department rules. Every county is different

  14. In my area in AZ the swim team is back in the pool. I’m able to swim . Of course they have to follow guidelines.

  15. Ingrid Blair

    My daughter’s club pool shut down again today after being open only 3 weeks. Public pools remain open. It’s an unequal mess for swimmers.

  16. Craig Welday

    If chlorine is injected into our drinking water to kill bacteria, why can’t we swim in a chlorinated pool?…makes no sense

  17. Pamela Cooper Shepard

    New Jersey is only opening outdoor pools. Governor Murphy has not opened gyms or indoor pools on June 22.

  18. Debra Nicholls-Davis

    We’re in San Antonio Texas and my sons club has still not reopened as they practice in pool belonging to a school district. I think that’s the same all over San Antonio, if not Texas.

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