THE biggest changes we will see regarding the pool area is the maximum capacity allowed at one time, however, when will they reopen?
Although there is no specific date set for when pools will reopen, the Ministry of Health has already established a protocol ready to go for when they do.
This protocol forms part of the path towards a new normality. Salvador Illa, the Minister of Health, published a document which details the ‘unique and exclusive’ protocol which will be applied to swimming pools across the nation.
The ventilation and closed arenas are two of the key areas this protocol focuses on. However, the Ministry is confident in their scientific results about the effects of Covid in water and have signalled that there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted via the water.
Perhaps, the largest change we will see in the pool, is the reduction of people cooling off. Pools will now have to open with a maximum capacity, just like the rest of establishments.
Therefore, the Executive’s protocol proposes to “double the surface per person in outdoor spaces and triple this within indoor and covered spaces,” however there are certain exceptions to the restrictions as it also depends on the characteristics of the space which must ensure the ability to social distance.
However, many ask who will be in charge of determining all these new regulations are being taken seriously. Will there be lifeguards or specific personnel for the task?
They will be in charge of monitoring how many bathers are in the pool as well as restricting access based on social distancing.
According to the Ministry of Health, the access and exit areas of the pool facility will have markings on the floor to ensure individuals are two metres apart.
The document also touches upon the routine for disinfection that these pools must follow. Facilities must have a system to disinfect hands and shoes. Shoes will be highly recommended within the area.
In order to facilitate, the change of shoes, each client will be handed a plastic bag and another security protocol will be the preferred use of card.
The Ministry of Health recommends that any closed spaces, such as changing rooms, keep their windows and doors open to allow air to ventilate and circulate the room and avoid transmission. If there are no windows, then the facility must find some form of mechanical ventilation.
Another critical point highlighted by the government is that “special attention” be paid to surfaces when cleaning which have “frequent contact” with bathers such as “taps or railings.”
In addition, sports or children’s playgrounds will remain closed during the de-escalation phase.