American Pool Virginia 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 Virginia

On May 15 the State of Virginia entered Phase I and provided initial guidance for the reopening of Public and Community Pools designed for lap swimming. 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 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. While the state allowed for a May 15th opening under specific conditions, it was not realistic or permissible for pools to have these items resolved by then. The vast majority of pools will not be permitted to open until Phase II which has yet to be announced and for which we have yet to receive guidance. In anticipation of an announcement in the coming weeks, we have set June 29 as the realistic target date for opening pools to patrons.

We are here to help navigate the challenges and provide consultation on owner related items. Virginia is requiring a number of operational changes for this season and they all must be addressed before the pool can be open for use.

As we begin to assess Virginia State preliminary 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 29th target for opening.

Lifeguards & Training

  1. Our lifeguard candidates have been performing the classroom portion of training online, but since there was no access to pools the candidates have yet to take the in-water training.
  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 increasing the overall training timeline.
  4. We are assembling a COVID-19 response kit that will include additional PPE for the lifeguard staff that is now required.

Pool Permits

  1. Operating permits have yet to be issued in most jurisdiction in the State.
  2. While some jurisdictions have already begun pre-season inspections, the majority are just beginning under a modified structure or a self inspection structure. The inspection process will likely move at a slower than usual pace in some jurisdictions.
  3. Counties are currently working on their own processes to review applications and quickly issue permits.
  4. Our representatives will be providing site-specific updates on inspections and permit status in the coming days as the process becomes more clear.

Facility Sanitation & Disinfection

  1. AP staff will be responsible for regularly cleaning and disinfecting these frequently touched surfaces – handrails, water fountains, and doorknobs.
  2. AP staff will provide janitorial supplies if and as stipulated in the pool agreement.
  3. Owner will supply any additional cleaning product deemed necessary in accordance with State and CDC guidelines.
  4. Owner will be responsible for any additional bathroom cleaning and furniture sanitation
  5. 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.

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

  1. Virginia has limited usage to no more than 10 patrons at any time who may only use the pool for lap swimming. We do expect this requirement to be modified and increased for Phase II.
  2. American Pool will calculate and communicate this modified max capacity, but the property must communicate the method of managing entry, and collectively we need to determine how the tracking requirement will be met.
  3. 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”.
  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 must be conducted outside of operating hours and in compliance with social gathering limits.
  6. Properties will be required to provide queue markers for heavy traffic areas 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.
  8. Wading pools, spas (hot tubs), spray or splash pads, and lazy rivers are not permitted to open for use and will not be considered when creating capacity limits. These bodies of water will still need to be maintained to prevent the spread of insect-borne illnesses.

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) – $79.74
    • 1 Social Distancing
    • 1 Protecting Yourself and Others – COVID-19
    • 1 What to Do If You Are Sick
    • 2 Washing Your Hands for 20 seconds (1 near the sink for each washroom)
    • *American Pool will provide and install the COVID-19 required signage. The signage and verbiage listed above is subject to change and may vary from state to state. 
  • 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 mporter@americanpool.com to place your order and ask any questions you may have.


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!