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

Last Updated: 07/09/2020

As of July 2, indoor and outdoor pools can both reopen, subject to mitigation protocols.

Summer camps will be able to use their pools when they reopen on July 6.

Pools must follow the appropriate requirements from Executive Order No. 153, Executive Order No. 157, 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, 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, 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:

  • Staff must be screened for fever and symptoms on entering.
  • Facilities must stagger access to entry and exit points to avoid congregation, and reduce capacity to 50% for the facility and grounds.
  • Staff and pool-goers must wear a cloth 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.

In addition, indoor pool facilities must:

  • Limit people in indoor areas to 25 percent of the establishment's indoor capacity
  • Restrict lap swimming to one direction per lane or one swimmer per lane

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