public pools can open

Governor Murphy announced today during his press conference that community and public pools will be able to open this summer, beginning on June 22nd. This also means that when day camps open on July 6th, the kids will be able to use those pools as well. 

While Murphy re-opened beaches and lakes prior to Memorial Day, but public use outdoor swimming pools, like town pools, those in apartment complexes and community pools, have remained closed. There will be social distancing, sanitizing, cleaning and other guidelines will be in place when they reopen. Rules surrounding this were announced on June 9, during Governor Murphy’s daily press call Department of Health commissioner Judy Persichilli announced some of the rules that will be enforced when pools reopen. 

  • Pools must reduce capacity to 50% maximum, which could include limiting hours or instituting a reservation system.
  • Staff and patrons must social distance while in the water and on the pool deck.
  • Signage and markings must be in place to denote six feet of spacing in all commonly used areas.
  • Staff and pool guest should wear face coverings when not in the pool and when social distancing can not be maintained, like in waiting in line.
  • Cloth face coverings should not be worn in the water and lifeguards should not wear face coverings.
  • Pools should designated and stagger entrance and exit points to avoid congregation.
  • Signs must be placed at entrance points telling patrons if they are sick, they should stay home.
  • Guests and staff must sign in to facilitate potential contact tracing efforts.
  • Hand sanitizer stations must be placed throughout the facility.
  • Occupancy in rest rooms, shower areas and locker rooms must be limited to allow social distancing.
  • Foot coverings must be worn in restrooms, locker rooms and shower areas, and foot pedals or motion sensors are recommended.
  • Staff must be screening for fever and symptoms before entering the facility.
  • Gloves must be worn by staff while serving food to patrons.
  • The use of pool toys and equipment (like  noodles, snorkels and kick-boards) is not permitted

This announcement is part of Stage 2 in the NJ road back recovery process. Outdoor dining, daycare centers and non-essential retail will be reopening on June 15. Also on June 22, salons and barbershops will be able to open and youth sports will be able to restart (so long as they play outdoors and remain contactless). 

July 6 marks the date that day camps and rec camps will be able to open for the season. Murphy confirmed today that summer camps will be able to use their outdoor pools when they open. Full guidelines for summer camps are expected from the Department of Health later today. 

As far as safety guidelines at the public pools, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette–encouraging staff and swimmers to frequently wash hands and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Cloth face coverings–wearing a mask in social situations but NOT in the water as this can obstruct breathing.
  • Staying home–taking the initiative to self-isolate if you have been exposed to the virus.
  • Adequate supplies–pools should make sure they have enough soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels and other supplies.
  • Signs and messages–pools should post signs and use social media to encourage social distancing, hand-washing and other ways to stop the spread.

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