Governor DeWine has announced that commercial pools will be able to open May 26, following strict safely guidelines. The guidelines, as issued, are somewhat confusing. We are providing the following guidance to our clients, which you can also download as a PDF here. The official Ohio guidelines are available here.
We will keep you updated as needed and have been working closely with our existing commercial clients for the last several weeks in anticipation of this opening. If you require commercial pool opening and maintenance services, or if you are an existing client who has not yet scheduled your open date, please get in touch.
Suggestions to Consider for Your Aquatic Facility
Note: Hastings Water Works is currently suggesting our clients consider using 60 square feet per person as a starting point to determine capacity numbers inside the gated pool area as well as in the water itself. This is our current thinking and may very well be revised as we continue to test, monitor and validate our assumptions. Remember, no two pools are alike. Ultimately, you must decide what works best for your patrons, your facility and your organization.
Nothing communicated herein is intended as legal advice.
Commercial Pool Safety Guidelines for Reopening
- Establish and post “maximum occupancy” numbers that allow for enough deck/grass space and pool space to achieve social distancing in and out of the water. (Social distancing not required between people from same households. As such, they will require less space.)
- Consider using a Pool Attendant to monitor the number of people entering/exiting the gated area on days you think maximum capacity could be reached. Use a strict “One Person Out – One Person In” policy when capacity is reached. (Note: a designated person to monitor capacity or social distancing is not specifically mandated by the Responsible Restart Ohio guidelines)
- Consider allowing patrons with even numbered addresses to use the pool for the first half of the day and patrons with odd number addresses to use the pool for the second half of the day – with a 30 minute break between sessions for sanitizing by the Lifeguard or Pool Attendant. Flip that schedule every other week to accommodate different schedules your patrons may have. (note: even if it’s too challenging to validate addresses, most patrons will abide by the rule)
- Consider not setting furniture out for public use: tables, chairs, chaise lounges, umbrellas, toys, flotation devices, etc. Encourage patrons to bring their own tables, chairs, umbrellas, toys to the pool. Eliminate “Lost & Found.”
- Per Ohio Code; at least one restroom must be Open for use – labeled unisex. All other restrooms can be closed.
- Have hot tubs, spas, and whirlpools drained, secured, and closed for the season.
- All handrails being used must be sanitized every two hours, including but not limited to: pool ladder handrails, handrails used to enter and/or exit the pool, diving board handrails, slide handrails, play structure handrails, etc.
- Public areas, surfaces and restroom(s) must be disinfected every two (2), hours.
- Concession stands (if not critical), should remain closed for the season. Follow Ohio and CDC guidelines for restaurants and bars if food and/or beverages are being sold.
- Consider reducing or eliminating the number of guests your members are allowed to bring to the pool.
- Club houses, meeting rooms, community rooms, cabanas and similar rooms/structures should remain closed to patron’s casual use during Open Pool Hours – unless specifically coordinated by your organization.
- Baby pools/wading pools may only be used if social distancing can be easily achieved. Reminder: A parent/guardian must accompany their child inside the gated area of the baby pool/wading pool.
- Post cautionary signage advising patrons something similar to: “your organization assumes no liability regarding any risks associated with COVID-19 and each person entering the gated area acknowledges the risks of contracting a virus is always possible and cannot be completely eliminated” – should be displayed at the entrance gate and duplicated at one additional, highly visible location inside the gated area. (Seek legal advice for actual language)
- Install social distancing signage/stickers/markers six feet apart on the deck, along perimeter of pool and where appropriate. One deck sign/sticker should be outside the entrance gate at six feet away and one inside the entrance gate, six feet from the gate. Although recommended, you are not required to install physical barriers in the pool water itself. (per Cuyahoga County Health Department)
- Consider requiring or recommending patrons to wear face masks when not in the water. (wearing masks while in the water is not recommended by health officials)
- Consider eliminating “signing-In,” collecting passes, and other processes that involve use of a shared pen, papers and similar items that are potentially shared and touched by many people.
- If using a gatekeeper person, allow for at least six feet of distance between the gatekeeper location and patrons entering/exiting the facility.
- Gatekeepers and other staff should always wear a face mask unless there are specific reasons to not wear a face mask. The CDC recommends that lifeguards not wear a mask while on active guard duty, but lifeguards not on active guard duty should wear a face mask.