As states slowly come back to life and the weather gets warmer, the issue of how to safely reopen public and private recreational facilities, including community swimming pools, is becoming a challenge. For some places such as private communities, it is easier to regulate as the patrons of the facility are residents of the community only. For public facilities, there are still rules that will need to be implemented. However, in both scenarios, the most important aspect is the strict implementation of these rules to keep visitors and staff safe and healthy.
The CDC, along with a number of States, including New Jersey, and various trade and professional organizations have provided guidance to be followed and considered to prevent further disease transmission. Visitors to facilities should be encouraged to follow these guidelines and maintain social distance, wear masks where practical, minimize use of shared equipment or facilities such as restrooms, and remove all items brought in with them, including their trash.
Example of the “Pool Rules” drafted for a private community pool:
- To safeguard the health and welfare of residents and staff, and to maintain a safe outdoor swimming environment during this period when the threat of COVID-19 exists, the Pool Amenity may only be used by residents of the community. To be clear: NO RELATIVES, FRIENDS, CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL FROM OUTSIDE THE COUMMUNITY SHALL BE PERMITTED AT THE POOL FACILITY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. ANY VIOLATION OF THIS POLICY SHALL RESULT IN THE VIOLATOR/UNIT OWNERS BEING BANNED FROM THE POOL FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE 2020 SEASON.
- All homeowners must register/sign in with the lifeguard upon entry to the pool. Any homeowner wishing to use the pool facilities must also sign a liability release form and provide it to the lifeguard the first time they use the pool. This will be kept on record for the 2020 season. At any subsequent visit, when signing in, the homeowner shall affirm on the sign in sheet that they have a release on file.
- To maintain social distancing, no more than fifty (50) people may be present in the pool area at any time (sitting in chairs either one (1) foot apart if cohabitants or 6/8 feet apart if not) and no more than thirty (30) people being permitted in the pool at any one time all maintaining six (6) feet of social distance. The Hot tub shall be limited to no more than 4 people at any one time. [NOTE – these distances are calculated based on formulas provided and applied to this example which include the size of the pool (2500 square feet), pool area (5700 square feet), and hot tub (12 Foot diameter)].
- Rest rooms are available in the clubhouse. Please be sure to wipe down any surfaces you touch when using the facility.
- No association chairs, tables, floats, toys and the like will be available. You may bring your own chairs, but must remove them from the pool area when leaving.
- Directions of the Lifeguard must be followed at all times. Failure to follow the Lifeguard’s directions are grounds for expulsion from the pool area by the Lifeguard. This includes Lifeguard instructions regarding these rules relating specifically to COVID protections.
- The Lifeguard shall open and close all umbrellas. The umbrellas have been located to enable social distancing of at least six (6) feet and shall not be moved. Co-habitants may position chairs within 1 foot of each other but must maintain a minimum of eight (8) feet on all directions from any other residents.
- The Board of Directors reserves the right to amend or change these regulations at any time.
- Any violations of the regulations will result in dismissal from the pool area.
While this is just an example and the rules and needs of each community and facility will vary, it is possible to enjoy recreational facilities (once the State and/or municipality permits it and establishes final guidelines) if proper care is taken to establish a firm set of rules and regulations.