Arizona Pools Prepare for Water Re-Entry This Week

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Photo Courtesy: Lana Bohon Twitter (@LA_NaOhNo)

Swimmers will be able to return to the water in Arizona pools as the state eases limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic ease.

The Phoenix Swim Club will open for masters swimming on Monday. Participants had to sign a waiver and reserve a limited spot online — two per lane starting on opposite sides. Temperatures will be checked at the door and no changing room or restroom will be available except for an emergency.

Here is a look a the rest of the guidelines for Arizona pools opening:

GUIDANCE FOR ARIZONA POOLS

Pursuant to EO 2020-36, Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, under all circumstances, the following precautions should be followed by people utilizing pools. To the extent possible, community pool operators should take measures to ensure that customers may follow these guidelines:

  • Stay home if sick.
  • Protect yourself while visiting pools:
    • Stay at least 6 feet away from other patrons.
    • If you are at higher risk for severe illness, you should avoid visiting pools. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
    • After leaving the pool, use hand sanitizer. When you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.FOR BUSINESSES – The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) recommends the following additional steps be taken by those operating community pools:
  • According to the CDC, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas.
  • Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.
  • Consider posting signs at pool entrances that if you feel sick, you should go home.
  • Maintain physical distancing, to the extent possible.
  • Provide additional space between pool chairs at community pools to allow for appropriate physical distancing.
  • Provide access to soap and water for hand washing or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at stations around the pool for use by employees and clients. Require employees to regularly wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Operate with reduced occupancy and capacity based on the size of the pool lounge area.
  • Implement comprehensive sanitation protocols, including sanitizing pool chairs, tables, and other poolside furniture after every use.
  • Implement symptom screening for employees prior to the start of their shift.
  • Consider providing and requiring non-medical grade face coverings to employees to wear.
  • Those who are swimming should not wear masks.
  • Advise those wearing face coverings to not wear them in the water.
  • Cloth face coverings can be difficult to breathe through when they’re wet.
  • Arrange waiting areas, service areas, and break rooms to provide for appropriate physical distancing and sanitize areas regularly between use.
  • Consider not providing pool floats or toys, but if they are provided, disinfect them in between each use.
  • Disinfect pool lifts in between each use.
  • Consider posting signs advising customers and employees of expectations and guidance.
  • Train all employees in the above safety actions.
  • Consider requiring guests to provide their own towels. If this is not possible and towels must be provided:
    • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
    • Wear disposable gloves when handling used towels from guests.
    • Do not shake used towels.
    • Clean and disinfect bins that hold used towels according to guidance for disinfecting surfaces.
    • After handling used towels: Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
  • Aquatic Summer Programs and Swim Schools/Lessons

• ADHS recommends avoiding group events, gatherings, or classes both in and out of the water if social distancing of at least 6 feet between people who don’t live together cannot be maintained.

• Exceptions to the physical distancing guidance include:

  • Anyone rescuing a distressed swimmer, providing first aid, or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with or without an automated external defibrillator.
  • Individuals in the process of evacuating an aquatic venue or entire facility due to an emergency.

• If planned events or classes must be conducted:

  • Limiting the number of participants in the class or event to prevent transmission.
  • Implementing symptom screening of staff AND participants, especially children who might not be capable of staying at least 6 feet apart from people they don’t live with.
  • Staggering drop-off and pick-up times, as much as possible, to maintain distance of at least 6 feet between people who don’t live together.
  • Discouraging the sharing of equipment such as kickboards, equipment, toys, and supplies with those they don’t live with.
  • Discouraging people from sharing items that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect or that are meant to come in contact with the face (for example, goggles, nose clips, and snorkels.)
  • Asking parents to consider if their children are capable of staying at least 6 feet apart from people they don’t live with before taking them to a public aquatic venue.
  • Limiting any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations.
  • Limit traveling for events (i.e. swim meets) to prevent mixing of individuals from different geographical locations. **Note that guidance continues to be updated and those complying with the guidance are encouraged to visit the websites provided frequently to ensure they are complying with the most up-to-date guidance.

Websites for additional public health guidance:

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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