Is it safe to take your family to a public pool?

Health

On hot summer days, public pools are usually filled with Midstate families but this year, with the Coronavirus pandemic, things are a little different.

Is it safe to take your family?

Dr. Mohammad Ali of Geisinger, a specialist in infectious diseases, says healthy individuals can go but should be careful.

“Before you go to a public pool, ask if they’re following guidelines provided by the CDC. Is staff cleaning hands often? Wearing face coverings and masks? Do they have enough sanitizers and hand washing stations? Do they have enough supplies so people aren’t sharing stuff?”

While at a public pool, Dr. Ali says to stay six feet apart from those not in your house and try to use a face covering or cloth when you’re not in the water.

Following guidance from the CDC and the state, officials in Chambersburg voted to open the Chambersburg Aquatic Center earlier this month.

Alice Elia, Chambersburg Borough Council President says the decision was talked about at length.

“We had members concerned about health issues, the health of the community and if opening the pool was going to create a hazard,” explains Elia. “Ultimately, the state government has guided us in our path forward so when the state decided it was safe to open parks, state-run pools, they decided it would be okay and could do so safely.”

Elia says staff is being extra cautious with additional protocols in place.

Julie Redding, Superintendent of Recreation for the Borough of Chambersburg says staff is cleaning common touch surfaces every 15 minutes. There are also changes to the facility this year to reduce the risk of spread.

“We have placed distance markers around the facility where people will congregate at lines, encouraging social distancing,” says Redding.

In addition, Redding says lounge chairs are not available for pool-goers, but you can bring your own. Water fountains are also closed and there is a set time on Sunday mornings from 10 to 11:15 a.m. for adults 60 and older and those medically compromised to have private access to the facilities.

Borough Council is hopeful the health benefits of having the pool open will outweigh the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

“What we ultimately decided was to have the pool open, enforce… as best we can… social protocols and state guidelines, half the daily attendance rate and we can always close it down if cases spike and things change,” explains Mike Herbert, Vice President of Chambersburg Borough Council.

Elia adding the importance of recreation and physical activity, even in these times, will keep community members mentally and physically healthy.

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