With New Jersey's public pools set to reopen on June 22, those hoping to beat the heat and splash around are set to encounter some new safety measures designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
First and foremost, it may be tougher to get a spot at the pool this summer: All facilities are required to limit capacity to just 50 percent of normal allowances. There will also be recommended limits on how may people are allowed in a pool at one time: For example, a 1,200 square foot pool would be able to have only 43 swimmers in it; a 3,000 square foot pool would be allowed to have 107 people in it, while still providing enough space between swimmers to allow for social distancing.
In order to help maintain the lower numbers of people at the pool, measures such as requiring reservations or passes, limiting the hours of operation and demarcating grids on the pool deck may all be implemented. Also, all entrances and exits must be designated and staggered in order to prevent crowding, and facilities must maintain a sign in sheet for staff and patrons in order to facilitate any potential contact tracing efforts.
Face coverings will not not required when in the pool, but will be strongly encouraged out of the pool when social distancing isn't possible. Lifeguards will not be required to wear any face coverings.
All venues must have enhanced cleaning and disinfecting efforts, including having high-traffic areas frequently sanitized. There must also be sanitizer stations throughout the facilities that have soap, hand sanitizer or surface disinfectant.
Furniture and equipment like lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels are not allowed to be shared, except for families or other similar groups, and must be kept apart from others in order to maintain social distancing. While families can bring items like goggles, noodles, kickboards and others, none will be provided by the facilities.
Locker rooms will also have occupancy limits, and all patrons will be required to have foot coverings. All other standard social distancing measures will be implemented as well — including six feet of separation whether in the pool or not, and signs should be installed to denote the spacing in common areas.
"The standards will ensure the precautions are in place to protect our health while enjoying the pool this summer,” New Jersey's Health Commissioner Persichilli said. "These standards will ensure that precautions are in place to protect the health of staff and pool-goers while enjoying the pool this summer."
For a full set of measures being instituted at the state's public pool facilities, click here.