Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we are always excited about jumping into a public pool during a typical summer vacation. However, because every person across the world is facing this pandemic, most of us have some issues and worries when it comes to swimming in public pools and fear the possibility of contracting the virus.
Most of us want to book a hotel accommodation and have a short vacation and a much-needed relief. Of course, hotels have pools, but is it safe to use them? Fortunately, until this day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that there is still not enough evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted to humans through the use of recreational waters such as oceans, lakes, and chemically treated water parks and public pools.
But just because the water will not be a concern according to the CDC, the things that you do in and around the water can still put you in risk during the pandemic. Here are some things you need to know so you can be safe in public pools.
Social Distancing is Still Important
Most health experts are primarily concerned about the transmission of the infection from person to person since chlorine or bromine disinfection can only get you so far in a public pool. Most of us are already familiar that this virus can be definitely transmitted through aerosol droplets. So, this means that if there are people with you in the pool, you should not violate the six-feet distancing rule.
Wearing of Masks Around the Pool
Aside from keeping a six feet distance from people you don’t live with. You need to wear a mask outside of the water since wearing one in the pool won’t work. If you’re not in the water, you must wear your face mask again. Of course, this depends on the protocol and precautions that the facility implements. Wearing a mask is technically mandatory but this will depend from place to place. Some facilities will require their employees to wear face masks during their shifts. And some guests over the age of 2 will need to wear a face mack during their stay.
Always be Cautious Inside the Facility
Using and being in the common areas shared by other guests is going to be another risk to pool visitors. The surfaces that the coronavirus can live on are the high touch points such as the handrail, locker, picnic table, lounge sofas and chairs, and public restroom is also a concern.
The good thing today is that a lot of establishments with pools like water parks and hotels are adjusting to the needs of their guests especially to their health safety by implementing new cleaning protocols to discuss the problem of common high touch surfaces.
The hotel industry will come up with specific details to examine every type of risk and properly respond to keep people safe. Hotel accommodations are advised to clean and disinfect any surfaces that are touched by guests and employees at least twice a day, focus their attention on pool ladders, showers, door handles, restrooms, and lounge sofas.
Even hotels and businesses, they are placing extra effort when it comes to cleaning. But of course, you still have to be watchful in washing your hands, every standard pandemic procedure and step.
Steps and Protocols Public Aquatic Venues Need to Consider
There are certain steps to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 by keeping a healthy environment.
1. Clean and Disinfect
Frequently touched surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected at least once or twice daily and shared objects must be disinfected prior to and after each time they are used (slides, handrails, lounge chairs, tabletops, pool noodles, kickboards, and structures for playing, and of course the obvious touchpoints we previously discussed.
Label the things that need to be cleaned and the others that have already been disinfected.
Laundry towels and clothing must be warm but in an appropriate water temperature and dry items depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Place Good Ventilation Systems
Make sure that ventilation systems must be placed in indoor spaces. Facilities should increase air turnover or outside air exchange prior to planned activities and events. There should be great circulation of outdoor air as long as it’s possible by opening doors and windows, fans, or other means. But make sure that when you open windows and doors, it should not pose a risk to swimmers, patrons, and staff. Fans must be placed in a position that pushes air outside and not across the room.
3. Discourage Activities and Use of Shared Spaces
Communal spaces must be cleaned more often. All high touch surfaces and shared objects must be disinfected daily before and after using.
Communal spaces that require removing masks during activities like eating must be discouraged.
If items must be shared in the pool such as pool noodles or kickboards, they should be minimized or limit the use by one group that live in the same household. Make sure to disinfect them too.