Looking for a pool or spray deck to cool off at in Massachusetts? They will open. The question is when.
According to a DCR spokesperson, currently, the Department of Conservation and Recreation is reviewing Safety Standards for Public and Semi-Public Swimming Pools issued by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) as part of Phase II of the Baker-Polito Administration’s reopening plan.
Here are some of the safety standards including facility management procedures (sanitation, staff, ventilation, etc.) and visitor guidelines that needed to be implemented.
Recreational activities, including swimming and wading, should be conducted with adherence to social distancing recommendations of 6 feet between individuals and the proper use of face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are
difficult to maintain. Swimming lessons are not allowed in Phase II.
Face coverings should be worn by patrons and staff in accordance with Covid-19 Order 31: Order Requiring Face Coverings in Public Places Where Social Distancing is Not Possible to prevent against the transmission of COVID-19 while at the facility. Face coverings should not be worn while in the water (diving masks, goggles, and snorkels may be worn)
Pool operators, taking into consideration bather load, any building occupancy limits, and social distancing on deck areas should manage capacity to accommodate social distancing to the greatest extent possible, such as setting a maximum number of
individuals that can be in a pool facility or pool area at one time. This number should not exceed 40% of existing facility capacity.
Hot tubs and whirlpools should be closed in Phase II.
Locker rooms and changing areas should be closed in Phase II. Restroom or shower facilities (if access is required) can be accessed through a locker room, but operators must ensure that guests do not use the lockers or changing area.
Make regular announcements or post clear signage to remind pool staff and patrons to follow social distancing guidelines.
Facilities should limit the number and spacing of items of pool deck furniture on premises to maintain social distancing.
Exceptions to the social distancing guidance include:
o Anyone rescuing a distressed swimmer, providing first aid, or performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with or without an automated external defibrillator.
o Individuals in the process of evacuating an aquatic venue or entire facility due to an emergency.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared objects each time they are used. For example:
o Handrails, slides, and structures for climbing or playing
o Lounge chairs, tabletops, pool noodles, and kickboards
o Door handles and surfaces of restrooms, showers, handwashing stations, and diaper-changing stations
o Consult the EOEEA May 18, 2020 Outdoor Recreation Facility Restroom
Limit use of shared furniture or objects to one individual or group of users at a time and clean and disinfect between use by different individuals.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol shall be available to staff.
Close pool facilities used by a sick person and wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting these pool facilities.
Admission/entry transactions are encouraged, where possible should be carried out through a no contact process such as online reservations, timed-ticketing, permit/sticker issuance or an on-site electronic transaction method that allows for social distancing guidelines to be followed. If not feasible, hand transactions and cash may be allowed.
In order to manage capacity and allow for social distancing, operators may consider limiting the time individuals or groups are allowed to use pool facilities.
Pool users may use personal floatation devices (PFD) that are U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved. PFDs cannot be shared. PFDs provided by the facility should be cleaned in accordance with the USCG guidance.
o No other equipment brought from home, such as pool noodles, inflatables, lounge furniture and toys, are allowed into the facility. However, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approved equipment for personal use is allowed.
At this time, DCR has not finalized the opening of its seasonal pools; however, DCR expects this to occur at the end of June 2020 once all of the safety standards have been implemented.
Additionally, DCR continues to hire lifeguards at many of its agency managed deep water pools, wading pools, and designated swimming waterfronts, offering $17.00 an hour for lifeguards. For more information about lifeguarding for DCR, please visit the department’s lifeguarding webpage.