American Pool Pennsylvania 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.
The Opening of Swimming Pools in Pennsylvania
On May 22, the state advised that counties in Green or Yellow Phases of the “Process to Reopen Pennsylvania” could open their public bathing places for use. Along with the lifting of restrictions come additional requirements to prevent the spread of the virus within the pool facilities. While we share your excitement in getting pools open to swimmers, it’s important to recognize the short term challenges and make sure the requirements have been satisfied in a plan moving forward to a targeted opening date. Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia Counties all enter the Yellow Phase as of June 5, but it is not realistic to have the new operational requirements addressed by then. We have set June 29 as the realistic target date for an opening of pools to patrons and will endeavor to open sooner if possible.
We are here to help navigate the challenges and provide consultation on owner related items. Pennsylvania, 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 open for use. A copy of the CDC requirements, which have been adopted in the counties we serve, can be found HERE for your review. Specific county-related documentation for Bucks County specifically may be found HERE.
After our assessment of the Pennsylvania 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 June 29 target opening date.
Lifeguards & Training
- 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.
- 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.
- Class size is limited to just 9 students, greatly reducing class capacity and increasing the overall training timeline. We anticipate the resumption of in-person lifeguard training after June 5.
- We are assembling a COVID-19 response kit that will include additional PPE for the lifeguard staff that is now required.
- If required by your local jurisdiction, please submit your permits and associated payments.
- Bucks County, PA will now require an operational plan to be submitted and approved before opening for swimmers this season. Please submit to the county for their review and contact our office if you have any questions or need support.
Facility Sanitation & Disinfection
- In order to support our clients, AP staff will be responsible for regularly cleaning and disinfecting these frequently touched surfaces – handrails, water fountains, and doorknobs. Our lifeguards will be instructed to close the pool for a 15-minute Safety Break on the hour to complete these tasks.
- Owner will supply any additional cleaning product deemed necessary in accordance with State and CDC guidelines.
- Owner will be responsible for any additional bathroom cleaning and furniture sanitation.
- At this time, we suggest our clients not stage 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.
- Bucks County is requiring elevated chlorine levels for the duration of the season. The minimum standard is 5 ppm free chlorine. We will be in touch to advise the cost of additional chemicals that need to be administered.
Social Distancing & Capacity
We have a number of suggestions, however, what’s best for each community will be different.
- In support of CDC guidance to ensure staff, patrons, and swimmers stay at least 6 feet apart from those they don’t live with, both in and out of the water maximum capacity must be established. American Pool will calculate and communicate this modified max capacity to you (pool surface area/ 113 sq ft), but the property must communicate the method of managing entry, and collectively we need to determine how the tracking requirement will be met.
- 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”.
- All guarded facilities must have a capacity plan that does not require the guard as the active enforcer of the established policy.
- Pool parties and special events must be conducted outside of operating hours and in compliance with social gathering limits.
- Properties will be required to provide queue markers for heavy traffic areas including the entry gate, water fountains, and diving boards.
- We advise eliminating guest passes for this season to maximize availability for your existing residents/members.
As partners, we will need to work together in the coming days to finalize the full plan for the 2020 season. This plan will include identifying zones of protection, review, and completion of your pool’s disinfection plan, defined hourly safety checks, and a review of any other changes for this season. Our goal is to ensure the highest safety for both the patrons and our employees while providing a safe and enjoyable pool experience.
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 email@example.com to place your order and ask any questions you may have.
6/8/2020 Update on the Opening of Philadelphia Swimming Pools
The health and safety of our team, your staff, and the swimming public is paramount to our operations. As part of providing a safe and healthy bathing place, we are closely monitoring changes in these situations regarding COVID-19 daily, and maintaining communications with the state, county and local health departments.
On Monday morning (8:35 AM on 6/8/2020), we received confirmation of Mayor Kenney’s executive order advising public and private-public bathing places within the Philadelphia County are not permitted to open; even if otherwise indicated by Gov. Wolf’s “Reopening PA” plan. County officials are unsure when this order will be lifted, but we will continue to monitor the situation and will advise accordingly.
Our clients within the city limits will remain on a weekly maintenance regimen in keeping with CDC guidance to prevent stagnated water. The community will receive a credit for the lifeguard wage hours that are not used because of the executive order.
Should you have any questions or requests in light of this matter; please contact us.
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.