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Are swimming pools open? What are the social distancing requirements and restrictions?

Last Updated: 05/03/2021

Note: If there is no unexpected surge in COVID-19 numbers, on Wednesday, May 19, percentage-based indoor and outdoor capacity limits will be lifted. Instead, businesses must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups of people can remain six feet apart.

Indoor and outdoor pools can both reopen, subject to mitigation protocols.

Pools must follow the appropriate requirements from Executive Order No. 153, Executive Order No. 157, Executive Order No. 230, and the Department of Health's Executive Directive 20-022 and COVID-19 Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards, including developing and implementing a COVID-19 Pool Operation Prevention Plan that must be submitted to and approved by the local health authority.

What to Expect at Pools

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in EO 153, EO 157, EO 230, and DOH ED 20-022 and Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of EO 153, EO 157, EO, 230, DOH ED 20-022, and DOH standards and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Health and safety standards required for reopening pools include:

  • Facilities must stagger access to entry and exit points to avoid congregation, and reduce outdoor capacity to 50 percent for the facility and grounds.
  • Limit people in indoor areas to 50 percent of the establishment's indoor capacity - excluding employees
  • Staff must be screened for fever and symptoms on entering.
  • Staff and pool-goers must wear a face covering outside of the pool when social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained, with the exception of children under age 2 and lifeguards on active duty - face coverings should NOT be allowed in the water due to increased risk of drowning.
  • Encouraging 6 feet social distancing while in the water and on the pool deck, unless the individual needs help in order to swim, except immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners;
  • A sign-in sheet, which may be electronic, is to be maintained for all staff and patrons to facilitate potential contact tracing efforts.
  • Patrons can use their own water play equipment, such as goggles, snorkels, fins, kickboards, pool noodles and toys, but sharing is prohibited and such equipment cannot be rented for patrons' use.
  • Limit occupancy in restrooms, shower areas, and locker rooms that remain open to avoid over-crowding and maintain social distancing through signage.
  • Restrict lap swimming to one direction per lane or one swimmer per lane in indoor pools

For more information, refer to the Department of Health's COVID-19 Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards.

Source: Governor's Remarks 6/8/20; Executive Order No 153; Executive Order No. 157, DOH Executive Directive 20-022 and COVID-19 Pools and Aquatic Recreation Facility Standards; Executive Order No. 163; Executive Order No. 230