ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Alpharetta’s Wills Park pool was closed Aug. 3 after a staff member was confirmed as having contracted COVID-19.
While the individual did not have direct contact with the public, the pool will be closed until further notice, the city said in a statement.
“One of the employees who doesn’t have direct contact with the public, but has direct contact with other employees including lifeguards, was not feeling well and went and got tested,” said Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard. “That test came back positive.”
Over the next two weeks, the pool staff will be quarantined and/or tested, and the pool area, which includes a wading pool and a competition pool, will be cleaned in accordance with recommended guidelines, Drinkard said. Those guidelines do not include draining the pools, which are infused with chlorine regularly to kill all germs and viruses. Diving boards, handrails, bathrooms and all other exposed services will be cleaned.
The city will then bring in a professional service to disinfect the entire facility in accordance with CDC guidelines.
“We’ll talk with our vendor about exactly when the best time to schedule it is and try to push that closer to the time we would actually start bringing people back into the space,” Drinkard said.
The pool will reopen only when the city is confident it is safe for public use, he said. Pool crowds will still be limited to half the facility’s posted capacity.
Wills Park pool opened for the first time this year on June 13 as part of the city’s efforts to lift restrictions to public amenities that had been enacted in late March.
As part of the reopening process, Drinkard said all employees, including those at the municipal pool, are and have been tested for high temperature each day. Pool visitors were not tested because temperatures are difficult to verify outdoors, he said.
“This employee wasn’t feeling well but wasn’t running a temperature,” Drinkard said.
Neighboring cities report no incidents
Surrounding cities with municipal pools say they have not received any reports of COVID-19 infection.
The Milton City Pool, which has been operating since Memorial Day weekend, has had no reports of coronavirus among employees of patrons, said Communications Director Greg Botelho.
“We have not had a situation like that,” he said. “If you go out there, you’ll see the lifeguards are wiping down chairs, they’re taking temperatures, all that kind of stuff.”
In addition to regular pool safety rules, the city has set aside an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for persons 55 and older to use the pool.
Other precautions include limiting the number of people inside the fence to 50 and the number of occupants in the baby pool to five. The facility also places a two-person limit in the bathrooms and requires parents to monitor and enforce social distancing for their children.
The city has also closed the water fountain and has banned any kind of swim toys or inflatable devices that can be shared. Ladder rails, handles and other items are wiped down every one to two hours. Social distancing is enforced on the deck and in the pool.
Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 during check-in will be denied entry.
Roswell enforces limited crowds
Roswell operates four public water recreation facilities: Roswell Area Park pool, which opened June 15; Roswell Adult Aquatic Center, which opened for reservations June 29; Sprayground at Riverside Park, which opened July 1; and Sprayground at East Roswell Park, which opened July 3.
In addition to regular cleaning, all facilities are operating at reduced capacity.
“Visitors are encouraged to wear masks when coming through the pool entryway, and their temperature is checked before being admitted,” Roswell Recreation and Parks Community Relations Coordinator Jennifer Morrow said. “They are also not allowed to be admitted if they or a family member has been sick.”
The City of Johns Creek does not operate a public pool.