Reopening Roundup: More States Opening for Swimming

Photo Courtesy: Competitor

As many states continue to see cases of COVID-19 flattening out, they are moving to reopen for business, including pool reopening. While the news is generally hopeful for swimmers as the summer begins in earnest, it’s not uniformly so.

Colorado on Monday released orders to reopen pools. Outdoor pools can open at half capacity or up to 50 people, whichever is fewer. Rules will be finalized Thursday after a comment period. The guidelines also allow for restarting of sports leagues.

Michigan pools received an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday easing lockdowns to open outdoor public swimming pools June 8 at 50 percent capacity. Indoor pools remain closed. At least three counties – Oakland, Macomb and Wayne – have taken the opening to open pools as soon as they can.

Louisiana will move into Phase 2 of its reopening on Friday, which will open “swimming pools for recreational use.”

Rhode Island on Monday moved into its Phase 2 recovery, which allows public pools to reopen with restrictions. Facilities can only allow 15 people inside at a time without use of locker rooms and bathrooms.

New Mexico, which Monday approved the reopening of public pools, is undergoing a process for inspecting pools. The New Mexico Environment Department has jurisdiction. Among the other areas looking to reopen pools amid eased restrictions are the city of Casper in Wyoming, Nebraska (at 25 percent occupancy), Oregon (which divides use into “general use” and “limited use”) and Mississippi capital Jackson.

Massachusetts will decide Saturday if the state can move to Phase 2, which would allow for the opening of outdoor pools. (Indoor pools would be in Phase 3 with other gym and fitness centers, including locker/shower rooms.)

Not every state is ready to return to the water yet. In Virginia, pools are open as part of Phase 2, for lap swimming, diving, exercise and instruction. The order opens both indoor and outdoor venues. However, Richmond and Northern Virginia remain in Phase 1 with pools closed.

The picture in Illinois has grown complex. The “Restore Illinois” plan from Gov. J.B. Pritzker has kept pools closed in the state. But competitive swimmers are lobbying the governor to move pools up in the process. Two clubs in Adams County, Quincy Country Club and Sheridan Swim Club, opened Monday against the orders of the government.

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. Leslie Cichocki

    Marsha Kathryn McClary I have a strange feeling that Illinois is going to be last state to open pools and don’t know why. Just seems that way. Come on Governor JB Pritzker look at all these other states that had opened pools or are about to. We need you JB.

    • avatar
      john Casalinuovo

      Somebody please help!!! On Long Island, NY they’ve announced all outdoor swimming pools are closed for the summer. I’m trying to get peoples attention to revisiting this issue but thus far have been successful. If anyone knows anyway to get this issue revisited please reply with anything I could do. Thanks again

  2. Jen Hintz

    C’mon Governor JB Pritzker restore Illinois! Open pools for competitive swimmers, exercise, lessons and therapy. So many went from many hours of exercise and training to nothing. We need the pools. Restore Illinois

    • Jen Hintz

      Eileen Ford Hedges Same in Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

    • Melissa Hart Moss

      Eileen Ford Hedges tell me about it …. please tell people to communicate with every state politician they can….did you hear Gov. Murphy today – he “owes guidance”
      About pools…..

    • Marie Kopinski

      Michigan is not opening indoor pools until possibly July. Since my son’s team uses the school’s pools, once our Gov even gives the green light to open, the schools have to ok our reopening plan. Not looking good. outdoor pools can open, but many places have decided not to. Feel bad for the kids.

  3. Angie Reese Mudd

    Even though Colorado said they were opening up to 50% capacity and no more than 50 people – there can be no more than 10 people INDOORS. And in all cases / only 1 swimmer per lap lane. So technically they are opening – but swim teams will have a difficult time practicing

  4. Lisa Ceddia

    In Ohio pools except water parks were allowed to open however most did not in the Columbus area. Many outdoor municipal pools are not opening this summer. Fiscally they could not justify operating at a reduced capacity. Country clubs are open with a reservation system.

  5. Leslie Cichocki

    Governor JB Pritzker can someone please help Illinois repopen swimming pools to just competitive swim teams. I understand that pools maybe can’t be opened to the community. Marsha Kathryn McClary We will make sure social distancing and other rules are followed during practice. Coaches will make sure we all are safe.

  6. Angie Reese Mudd

    Colorado opened 50% capacity or 50 people – BUT only allowing 10 people indoors, and the regulation of ONE swimmer per lane for indoor and outdoor. That may make many teams unable to resume

    • John Ian Bobbitt

      Angie Reese Mudd so if that were my old team… we’d be on a 10-day rotation to get wet…(cue dramatic eye roll)

      someone thought they were a genius when they came up with that bit of nonsense.

      • avatar
        Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

        The number depends on the size of the facility and standard usage of that space… important to note that 25% is the recommendation, so the 50 would only apply to a pool in which you would normally have 200 swimmers training at the same time… space and distance are at the heart of these guidelines and each pool has to adjust according to their own environment and how the space is used.

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  8. Jen Hintz

    Governor JB Pritzker don’t wait until the next phase. Let’s get these pools open. Restore Illinois! Park district employees cannot work, we cannot exercise, practice or learn to swim with the pools closed.

  9. Leslie Cichocki

    Come on Governor JB Pritzker lets reopen pools with limited capacity.Minnesota opens pools June 10 in phase 2.

  10. Natalia Vaganova

    Our condo small gym was open today with limit 5 people at time, a pool is still closed 🙁

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