To say that COVID-19 has affected everyone’s lives in a big way would be a massive understatement. Just about every aspect of daily life has been affected to some degree, and enjoying time in your pool is no different. Whether it’s a backyard swimming pool or community pool, various steps need to be taken in order to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Here are some effective ways to stay safe when swimming during the COVID crisis.
Promote Behaviors that Prevent the Spread
If you can get everyone on board and proactive about prevention techniques, then the likelihood of spreading the virus will be reduced.
Some strategies to encourage healthy pool hygiene include:
- Encouraging everyone to keep their hands clean and wash them often
- Recommending cloth face coverings when not in the water, especially if proper social distancing isn’t feasible
- Instructing everyone to cough or sneeze into their elbow and not into the open air
- Have signs explaining that it is not permitted to spit on the pool deck or in the water
- Inform people to remain at home if they exhibit any symptoms of illness, or have tested positive for COVID-19
- Ensuring adequate supplies are available that include hand sanitizer, soap, no-touch trash cans, towels, and paper towels
Take Time to Clean and Disinfect
Keeping all areas that will be touched by more than one person clean and disinfected is crucial to COVID swimming safety. Frequently touched surfaces like handrails, diving boards, slides, lounge chairs, door handles, tabletops, showers, diaper changing stations, benches, counters and any pool toys should be properly cleaned at least daily and any shared items should be cleaned after each use.
Any indoor spaces should have adequate air ventilation to ensure as much outdoor air gets in as possible. Open windows and doors if it doesn’t pose a safety risk, make sure all ventilation systems are operating properly and use fans to circulate air, if possible.
Maintaining social distance of at least six feet has been one of the main ways to prevent the spread of the virus, so it may be necessary to modify deck layouts to ensure this is possible.
Some ways to make it happen include:
- Installing physical guides or barriers
- Changing the layout of lounge chairs and seating areas
- Providing cues like lanes in the water, or visual cues like tape on the decks and floors
- Staggering the use of communal spaces
Discourage Sharing Items
Any items that are difficult or impossible to easily clean and disinfect should not be shared. This includes:
- Nose clips
- Pool Noodles
Training Staff Adequately
For public pools, training the staff is a critical part of safe swimming during COVID-19. There needs to be a strong system in place that is designed to account for any situation, whether it is regular business, dealing with swimmers that won’t comply with the rules, keeping crowd size under control, self-reporting symptoms, recognizing symptoms in others, proper cleaning methods or anything else that has to do with this unique situation.
If everyone does their part and respects the rules and each other, there should be plenty of summer swimming fun for everyone that loves to spend time at the pool.