Public pools begin to reopen after pandemic shutdown
KITCHENER -- A dip in a public pool to beat the heat is back on the table in Waterloo Region.
But, like almost every activity resuming following the pandemic shutdown, the experience will be different.
Waterloo’s Moses Springer Community Centre public pool welcomed swimmers back on Wednesday, with new public health protocols in place.
City officials say the new pool rules, shaped with the help of the Lifesaving Society, exceed what’s been recommended.
“They suggest no more than 25 per cent of your capacity, and we’ve actually taken one extra step,” says Steve Scherrer, the City of Waterloo’s Facilities Manager.
The pool can accommodate 500 people, but they’re only allowing 100 people in at a time – or 20 per cent of the pool’s capacity.
Staff will also try to keep families together in designated areas so they aren’t too close to others.
The change rooms at the pool are still closed, but washrooms are open and showers have been moved to the outdoor deck.
Swimming sessions are blocked off for one hour at a time, and after every group leaves, the pool is closed for 45 minutes in order for high touch points to be disinfected.
Swimmers are asked to bring their own floaties, and to reserve a time to swim, although some spaces are being kept open for drop-in visitors.
“It’s a bit of a process, but it’s understandable and needed,” says Greg Papazian, who was visiting the pool with his family. “We usually go swimming a lot, so this is a welcome reprieve.”
- With reporting by Carmen Wong