NORTH ATLANTA — With summer in full swing, several area cities have opened their pools to the public, but with an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, governments are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of their residents.
COVID-19 is not thought to spread through pools, hot tubs or water playgrounds that are disinfected properly, according to the CDC.
Nevertheless, the CDC has published safety guidelines for aquatic centers, including neighborhood pools and water parks, that most local governments are following to minimize the risk. Some of the guidelines emphasize following current general safety protocol, such as frequent hand washing, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, wearing face masks when possible and staying home when sick.
Additional steps include limiting pool capacity and increased signage with safety tips.
With months of isolation and interrupted routines, Roswell Communications Specialist Jennifer Morrow said many residents are searching for a sense of normalcy.
“With such a chaotic start to the season, the public is eager to return to normal summer activities such as aquatic recreation,” she said. “We hope that increased safety precautions will allow people to remain healthy while still enjoying the activities they look forward to all year.”
Roswell opened its pool at Roswell Area Park on June 15, and officials are anticipating opening additional aquatic facilities later this summer.
The Roswell Area Park pool has implemented a number of additional rules in response to the pandemic, including limiting parties to less than 10 people, closing the toddler pool, enforcing social distancing and cancelling any pool-related special events.
Last year, Roswell staff counted more than 8,500 visits to the city’s pools.
Neighboring city Milton has likewise added a number of rules to follow recommendations offered by the Georgia Department of Health, Fulton County, the CDC and national pool associations.
The Milton pool’s capacity is approximately 240 people, according to Communications Director Greg Botelho. But for health concerns, Milton is now limiting the capacity to 50 people to comply with social distancing standards.
Residents are able to track the number of people in the pool at a time using an online tool available on city’s website.
The City of Milton was one of the first municipalities to reopen its pool. On Memorial Day weekend, the city opened the facility following an inspection by Fulton County.
Since then, it has sold more than 275 pool passes. Last year, the city sold between 350-400 pool passes.
The City of Alpharetta reopened its Wills Park pool on June 13 with additional rules. Most notably, the city has capped the maximum capacity to 120 people with entry available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Temperatures will be taken before people enter. There will be no pool chairs available, and people will not be able to rent the pool pavilion.
The Cumming Aquatic Center reopened May 20 and the Competition Pool returned to normal operating hours June 1. The outdoor leisure pool came back online and group classes resumed June 16 with limits on the number of participants in each class.
The center is requiring that all guests have their temperature taken before entering and wearing facemasks is encouraged. Restrooms, showers and changing areas are now open, but lockers will not be open for use in the locker rooms.
For more information and a full list of new health and safety rules for each pool, visit the corresponding city’s websites.