American Pool New York COVID-19 Updates

American Pool Client Plan for Operations During COVID-19

American Pool continues to monitor coronavirus (COVID-19) developments with regard to swimming pool operations. While local authorities will provide ultimate direction as to what additional precautions will be required and when opening for use will be permitted, we can use the information that is available today to prepare for that eventuality.

On May 9, the CDC produced considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs, and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19. A review of this document as well as other industry materials has provided enough guidance for us to prepare an initial plan for opening swimming pools for bathers this season. This foundational plan will allow us to respond more quickly to our clients once local health authorities provide more specific requirements.

Once local requirements are published, they will be reviewed by our team and your Regional Manager will be in touch to plan the details of reopening with you and defining a realistic target open date. Download our American Pool Client Plan for Operations During COVID-19 for a full breakdown of the operation requirements.


American Pool PPE Kit for Swimming Pool Operations

The swimming pool is no different than the other service areas that must adapt to enhance patron and worker safety. Every operating swimming pool must be equipped with additional CDC recommended Personal Protective Equipment to protect staff and patrons. We are in the process of assembling a kit that will include the materials to provide additional barriers from pathogens in the event of an emergency.

There are patterns of COVID-19 guidance emerging among states that lift restrictions on pool use. Based on these consistencies we encourage you to post signage to support proper hygiene and safety consistent with messaging from the CDC. We can provide and install these signs for you once we receive approval for the work. We will be marking off guard stations with non-skid tape to support their 6’ physical distance from patrons; a practice we have seen in some states already. It is possible that the local health authority requires additional materials for opening, but we expect these items to be necessary regardless and there won’t be time to procure them at a later date.

Finally, we would like to confirm that your facility is using an indemnity waiver, inclusive of COVID-19 risks, and request that we are added to that waiver as CONTRACTOR. Please contact us if you have any questions about this provision.

  • PPE Kit – $147.99 (Single Guard Facility)*
    • 2 Bag Valve Masks (1 Adult and 1 Infant)
    • 1 Disposable Gown
    • 1 Face Shield
    • 1 Protective Goggles
    • 1 Viral Filter for CPR Masks and BVMs
    • *Multi Guard Facilities Will Need 2 Kits
  • CDC Signage for Bathing Facilities (Includes Installation) – $39.87
    • 1 Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing a Mask
    • 1 Protecting Yourself – COVID 19
    • 2 Washing Your Hands for 20 seconds (1 near the sink for each washroom)
    • 1 Stop the Spread of Germs
  • Installation of a Temporary Social Distance Perimeter – $20 per Station
    • A temporary perimeter around all AP employee stations (lifeguard chair, lifeguard table, pass checker station, etc).

We anticipate longer than normal turnaround time in the procurement of PPE and custom signage, so we appreciate the approval of these critical items as soon as possible. Please email nvaccarello@americanpool.com to place your order and ask any questions you may have.


The Anticipated Opening of Swimming Pools in Orange & Rockland County, NY

While we don’t yet have formal guidance from New York State on commercial pool operations this season, we thought that we should provide an update based on the information we do have at this time.  This week, our contacts in the New York State Health Department advised that guidance will be available “soon”  but have yet to provide a date that commercial pools may open for use. Internally, we are using a tentative opening date of Friday, July 3rd, 2020, but until we have clear guidance from the state, this is speculative on our part and we will endeavor to open pools sooner if possible. 

Once the state provides guidance, we will review and advise clients with a realistic target date to begin safe operations. While we have been able to begin our lifeguards’ training online, they still must complete the in-person portions of their training before certification so pools cannot open immediately at the time guidance is provided. It’s important that we work together to ensure all requirements are covered. Our goal is to keep everyone, from patrons to lifeguards, safe, and healthy. 

Here are the main touchpoints we’d like to share with you:  

Lifeguard Scheduling – We continue to hire and schedule lifeguards for the 2020 swim season, and we are proud to say our recruitment efforts have continued throughout the COVID-19 crisis uninterrupted.  We want to avoid false starts and manage communications with our seasonal lifeguards in the most effective manner.  As such, we need to give them a target opening date that we believe to be realistic so that we do not lose them to other opportunities as our state opens up.  As mentioned previously, we are referencing the July 3 target opening date for opening as we work on their schedules. 

American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Programs – Lifeguard and CPR training requires close contact and open facilities to practice rescue skills. At this time, we are still not permitted to teach in-person CPR and LGT courses due to social distancing guidelines. New York State has issued an extension for both Lifeguard Training (LGT) and CPR for the Professional Rescuer (CPR) certifications for the 2020 swim season. This means that individuals that were certified as we entered lockdown won’t need to repeat the entire LGT and CPR program this season, but they still must attend an abbreviated training session before working. This saves time in recertification but still does not address our staff that will be new this season or had been expired prior to the shutdown. We expect that we will be given permission to conduct the full courses in the next two weeks.  We are in a great position to conduct these courses quickly with 24 American Red Cross instructors on our full-time staff. 

COVID-19 Restrictions on Attendance – Initial State guidance will likely allow commercial pool operations congruent with the current restriction of gatherings above 10 people and we expect the capacity to go up as we enter July.

Specific New York State COVID-19 Guidelines for Use of Swimming Pools – We expect that each pool will be required to formulate an addendum to each pool’s safety plan addressing coronavirus precautions. Once we have the guidance from the state we will work with you to make sure all requirements are met before opening. 

Staff Orientation –  We have advised our seasonal staff that we plan to run poolside training for basic pool maintenance and new procedures, Sat 6/26 through Thursday 7/3. The dates are tentative, but we felt it was important to get them on the calendar based on the information we have at this time. This should give us enough time to review state guidance and implement effective training. 

We take safety from both an aquatic and COVID-19 standpoint seriously.  It’s important that we work together to manage patron expectations and not rush opening without addressing new requirements completely. Thank you for the confidence you have placed in us this season and we look forward to firming up opening dates soon.


The Opening of Swimming Pools in New Jersey

On June 10, the State of New Jersey issued COVID-19 Guidance for the reopening of public recreational bathing pool facilities. Of course, with the lifting of restrictions, come additional requirements to prevent the spread of the virus within the pool facility. While we share your excitement in getting the pools open to swimmers, it’s important to recognize the short term challenges and make sure all requirements have been satisfied as we approach a target opening date.

The state advised that pools meeting all requirements and approved by the local health authority may open as of June 22, however, on review of the new standards, it is not realistic to achieve compliance by that date. For clients that signed their lifeguard management agreements and returned to office prior to May 1, we are using June 29 as an internal target date for the opening to patrons, but will endeavor to open sooner where and when possible. The timeliness of community approvals and your responsiveness to our inquiries will largely dictate the actual opening date, as there are many owner items that must be addressed. The New Jersey COVID-19 Outdoor Pool Standards can be found HERE.

We are here to help you navigate these new challenges and provide consultation on owner related items. In the coming days, your American Pool representative will be reaching out to you to set an appointment for your community’s individual client conference call. During the call, we will guide the development of your COVID-19 Pool Operation Prevention Plan (CPOPP). If your community is part of an American Pool portfolio, the consultation may occur with your company’s regional team to help streamline the effort.

Following our assessment of the New Jersey guidelines, we wanted to communicate our organization’s initial approach. The list below is not exhaustive but will help you begin planning for operations this season. This is also an opportunity to update our clients on some important items requiring your attention to achieve our June 29 target opening date.

Lifeguards & Training

  1. Our lifeguard candidates have been performing the classroom portion of training online, but without access to pools, the candidates have yet to take the in-water training sections. Class size is limited to just 9 students, greatly reducing class capacity and expanding the overall training timeline. We anticipate the resumption of in-person lifeguard training on June 16.
  2. All guards, including those already certified, will receive some degree of COVID-19 specific training to address changes to rescue skills, PPE requirements, and changes to the emergency action plan from American Pool.
  3. After a 3 month moratorium on water-based and in-person training, it will take us several weeks to build our ranks with certified staff. Pool operating times may be limited to 8 hours per day temporarily so that we can achieve a June 29 target opening.
  4. We have assembled a COVID-19 response kit that will include additional PPE for the lifeguard staff that is now required. You have already received our communication about these materials and we are ready to provide them pending your approval. If you have not already approved the purchase of these items please do not delay further.

Facility Sanitation & Disinfection

  1. Owner will supply additional cleaning products deemed necessary in accordance with state guidelines.
  2. Owner will supply and install Sanitizer stations throughout the pool area.
  3. Owner will be responsible for routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces including bathrooms, gates, and handrails several times daily. Shared objects such as pool furniture must be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  4. We suggest clients not stage any deck furniture beyond what the lifeguard will be using. If you do plan on putting out furniture, it is with the understanding that the property owner will be responsible for sanitizing between each use. Clients proceeding with staging furniture must remain aware that the placement of deck furniture must remain compliant with established social distancing guidelines.
  5. Lifeguards will be instructed to close the pool for a 15-minute safety break every hour to check pool chemistry, verify flow rates, and take a count of patrons within the facility.

Social Distancing & Capacity

  1. The guidance for the capacity of the pool is 28 square feet of pool surface area per bather; we will calculate and advise this figure in our consultation as a maximum. Your plan for managing capacity will dictate how close to that maximum you can operate and maintain compliance.
  2. As per CDC guidelines: “Ensuring that lifeguards who are actively lifeguarding are not also expected to monitor handwashing, use of cloth face coverings, or the social distancing of others. Assign this monitoring responsibility to another staff member”. New Jersey will require that an Ambassador Role be established to monitor and encourage social distancing on the pool deck.
  3. The property must advise the method of managing and logging entry. Together, we need to determine how the tracking requirement will be met before the pool can be opened to swimmers.
  4. All guarded facilities must have a capacity plan determined by the facility owner that does not require the guard as the active enforcer of the established policy.
  5. Pool parties and special events are not recommended this season.
  6. Properties will be required to provide queue markers for heavy traffic areas where applicable, including the entry gate, water fountains, and diving boards.
  7. We advise eliminating guest passes for this season to maximize availability for your existing residents/members.

Securing Local Health Authority Approval for Operation

  1. All pool facilities must now develop a COVID-19 Pool Operation Prevention Plan (CPOPP) that complies with state guidance pursuant to Executive Order No. 153 (2020).
  2. The purpose of the CPOPP is to assure every operating facility has a clear plan for operations with clear roles and responsibilities for COVID-19 Facility Standards.
  3. American Pool will assist you in the preparation of your facility’s CPOPP and will submit along with our Aquatic Supervision Plan to the local health authorities in order to secure final township approvals.

As partners in this considerable and unprecedented challenge, we will need to work together in the coming days to finalize the full plan for the 2020 season. Please understand that all client accounts must be current, minus calculated credits for unused May and June lifeguard hours, before we can open. Our goal is to ensure the safest possible environment for both the patrons and our employees while still providing an enjoyable pool experience.


The Opening of Swimming Pools in New York

On June 11, the State of New York shared Interim Guidance for Pools and Recreational Aquatic Spray Grounds During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Along with the easing of these restrictions come additional requirements to reduce the risk of spreading the virus within the pool facilities. We share your excitement in getting pools open to swimmers, but it is important to recognize the short term challenges and make sure that requirements have been satisfied in a plan moving forward to a targeted opening date. While the State advises that facilities may open as of the date guidance was released, this is not a realistic expectation given the additional requirements for compliant operation. We have set July 3 as the realistic target date for an opening of pools to patrons for clients that followed our recommended operating plan to date.

We are here to help you navigate these new challenges and provide consultation on owner related items. New York State, in accordance with the CDC Guidelines, is requiring a number of operational changes for this season and they all must be addressed before the pool can be opened safely for use. A copy of the CDC requirements, which have been adopted in your county, can be found HERE for your review. A copy of the New York State Guidance can be found HERE.

Generally, owners and operators that also provide other activities on-premise (e.g. food service, retail, etc.), must consult and adhere to the guidelines set forth on the New York Forward website as it applies to their operations. The counties of Westchester and Putnam require the New York Forward Safety Plan Template to be completed prior to opening regardless of whether they provide additional on-premise activities or not. The New York Forward Safety Plan Template can be found HERE.

Following our assessment of the State and County guidelines, we wanted to communicate our organization’s approach to the changes. This is also an opportunity to update our clients on some important items requiring your attention to achieve our July 3 target opening date.

Lifeguards & Training

  1. Our lifeguard candidates have been performing the classroom portion of training online, but without access to pools, the candidates have yet to take the in-water training sections.
  2. All guards, including those already certified, will need to receive some degree of COVID-19 specific training to address changes to rescue skills, PPE requirements, and changes to the emergency action plan.
  3. Class size is limited to just 9 students, greatly reducing class capacity and expanding the overall training timeline. We anticipate the resumption of in-person lifeguard training on June 18.
  4. We are assembling a COVID-19 response kit that will include additional PPE for the lifeguard staff that is now required. You have already received our communication about these materials and we are ready to provide them pending your approval.

Pool Permits & Regulations

  1. Please be advised that for any public swimming pool to open for use, you must have received the permit to operate for 2020.
  2. All operational requirements of Title 10, SubPart 6.1- Swimming Pools remain in effect.
  3. The requirement for available restroom facilities at the pool also remains in effect.

Facility Sanitation & Disinfection

  1. CDC has established that frequently touched surfaces must be cleaned at least once per day and that shared items must be cleaned after each use. In order to support our clients, AP is willing to wipe down frequently touched surfaces specific to the pool such as handrails, ladders, and gate handles. In order to facilitate this, we suggest that our Lifeguard be instructed to close the pool for a 15-minute safety break on the hour to complete these tasks. During this period, they will also test and adjust the chemical levels as they normally would every hour.
  2. Owner will supply all additional cleaning products deemed necessary in accordance with state and CDC guidelines.
  3. Owner will be responsible for bathroom cleaning and furniture sanitation.
  4. At this time, we suggest our clients consider not staging any deck furniture except what the lifeguard will be using. If you do plan on putting out furniture it is with the understanding that the sanitizing responsibility remains with the property owner. As an example of a “ shared object”, per CDC, furniture should be cleaned between each use. Clients proceeding with staging furniture must remain aware that the placement of deck furniture must remain compliant with established social distancing guidelines.

Social Distancing & Capacity
We have a number of suggestions, however, what is best for each community will be different.

  1. As per CDC guidelines: “Ensuring that lifeguards who are actively lifeguarding are not also expected to monitor handwashing, use of cloth face coverings, or the social distancing of others. Assign this monitoring responsibility to another staff member”.
  2. Dutchess County has advised that facility capacity this season, must be limited to 50% of normal bathing capacity.
  3. In support of CDC guidance to ensure that staff, patrons, and swimmers stay at least 6 feet apart from those they do not live with, both in and out of the water, we suggest that a reduced capacity be established by the property, however, in Dutchess county this is mandatory. The property must advise the method of managing and logging entry. Together, we need to determine how the tracking requirement will be met before the pool can be opened to swimmers.
  4. All guarded facilities must have a capacity plan that does not require the guard as the active enforcer of the established policy.
  5. Pool parties and special events are not recommended this season.
  6. Properties will be required to provide queue markers for heavy traffic areas where applicable, including the entry gate, water fountains, and diving boards.
  7. We advise eliminating guest passes for this season to maximize availability for your existing residents/members.

As partners in this considerable and unprecedented challenge, we will need to work together in the coming days to finalize the full plan for the 2020 season. Our goal is to ensure the safest possible environment for both the patrons and our employees while still providing an enjoyable pool experience.


New Jersey CPOPP Questionnaire

Please complete this CPOPP questionnaire and return to American Pool as soon as possible. Once received we will create the NJ CPOPP draft that you can use to finalize your community’s plan.


American Pool Client Solutions for Swimming Pool Reservations

Most pools will be operating at reduced capacity to support social distance this season and one of the best ways to manage attendance is through reservations, which is why we have partnered with Omnify to bring our clients exceptional value and ease of use through their Reservation System.

As an American Pool client, your community will experience the following advantages when you select Omnify as your Pool Reservation Solution!

  • Preferred Pricing with Onboarding and Setup Assistance for your property at no additional charge!
  • Priority Status for Service by a dedicated Omnify professional.

CLICK HERE to learn more!