This is the second of four articles covering American Pool’s response to COVID-19 reopenings. We encourage you to read our other articles found here:
In a COVID-19 world, your patrons are going to feel a lot like they’re dipping their toes into cold, untested waters. Decreased facility capacities and increased patron anxieties are to be expected, especially in the first weeks of your pool season. Some pool-goers may choose to forgo the season altogether, especially if they are in the high-risk categories for COVID-19.
Regardless of whether your pool sees one visitor or 1,000 this summer, you should educate your entire community about the steps you’re taking to provide a safe, clean environment. This will help to build confidence in your pool operation, and allow patrons to make their own informed decisions on using the pool this summer.
Disinfecting Your Pool’s Surfaces
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend that you have 3 weeks’ worth of cleaning and disinfection supplies before opening your pool. Your staff should feel confident there are ample supplies to perform all tasks on schedule to keep up with your facility’s plan.
These areas should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily using EPA-approved products, or more frequently if instructed by your local health department for compliance:
- Entry gates
- Door handles
- Restrooms and showers
- Pool furniture (Note: Because cleaning every single piece of pool furniture may be time-intensive for your staff, you may want to consider adopting a “Bring-your-own-furniture” policy, leaving only lifeguard stands.)
A list of approved disinfectants to combat COVID-19 can be found on the EPA’s website. Remind lifeguards and other employees that proper PPE must be worn at all times during cleaning and disinfection. Additionally, you should supply ample soap and water and encourage frequent hand washing among all pool-goers.
Because these shared surfaces would need to be cleaned after every single use, it may be necessary to eliminate their use for this pool season:
- Vending machines
- Water fountains
- Shared water noodles and other pool toys
- Shared kickboards, aerobic weights, and other swim-training equipment
How to Perform Disinfection if One of Your Patrons Becomes Sick
In the unfortunate event that one of your pool’s patrons becomes sick with COVID-19, disinfecting your facility becomes your top priority. The CDC provides some guidance for reopening your facility should this happen. We’ve outlined the basics:
- If you’re able to close off any and all areas that the sick person used, you may not need to close off the entire pool. However, if you are unable to determine each exact area, closing your pool may be necessary.
- Wait 24 hours to clean or disinfect anything.
- Clean all areas and surfaces used by the sick individual. Again, disinfecting the pool deck or any wooden surfaces won’t be necessary.
- The area may be used again once disinfection is fully completed.
- Any guards or patrons who were exposed to the sick person must quarantine themselves for at least 2 weeks. Other people or employees who weren’t exposed may return to work or use the pool as usual.