How To Stay Safe In Public Pools During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The Active Times

During hot days, dipping into a pool does seem to be the best remedy we have. But not many have the luxury of a private pool, so some can only enjoy a public pool in the area. But even before the Coronavirus pandemic, lots of us realize that public pools are not the cleanest places to take a dip in, going to the beach would seem actually a better choice. Yet, if you opt to enjoy a public pool, there are ways to keep yourself safe during this pandemic.

With restrictions in some states easing up, some public pools have reopened after being closed for months. But does this mean it is safe to take a dip? An expert on infectious diseases shares some safety tips to avoid COVID-19 transmission at the pool. 

Bill Miller, M.D., infectious disease expert and senior associate dean of research and professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University, explains while it is tricky to keep safe in public pools, it is not impossible. The water is not actually the problem, and one thing going for them is that most are outdoors, which has more airflow. Still, take note of some safety tips to lessen your worries during these times.

Take Care At The Entrance

Even while restrictions have eased up, the virus is definitely still around. With that in mind, always practice safety precautions, like wearing a mask and maintaining proper social distancing. Expect lots of people trying to get into the pool during these hot days, and rules may vary per facility. “Don’t bunch up in the line,” Dr. Miller stresses. Follow the minimum 6-foot distance from others, and try to go during off-peak hours, if there are any. Dr. Miller has advice to assess the risk in spaces like public pools, “time, space, people, place.” simply keep these words in mind to limit your exposure to people outside your home.


The Water

The pool water is not a problem, it is heavily chlorinated, which will kill most organisms and viruses. “The pool itself should be safe, generally speaking, as long as people are staying away from one another,” explains Dr. Miller. The CDC also confirms that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through recreational waters, like oceans, lakes, and chemically treated pools. Of course there are no guarantees that the water will be completely safe. Kids roughhousing and playing, people close to each other in the pool and around it, make it more challenging. But don’t wear a face mask in the water, it will be difficult to breathe if it gets soaked, just maintain your distance, relax and enjoy the cooling effects of the pool.

Pool Deck

The facility should properly space the chairs and tables around the pool deck to lessen mingling and make the area more safe. Remember to maintain the minimum 6-foot distance from people not from your household, make sure your kids are aware, especially since they love to mingle and play with others. It is difficult, but safety should always be a priority. The virus spreads through the respiratory tract, from people talking to each other closely, coughing, and sneezing.

The Snack Bar

You should not worry about the food being served at the snack bar, “because there hasn’t been demonstrated transmission by food,” Dr. Miller says. Worry about people in line, waiting for their orders staying close to each other. Bringing your own snacks is surely safer and the risk of exposure is lower, but always make sure you wash or sanitize your hands.

Joey Cope

Locker Rooms

Dr. Miller points out that locker rooms may be risky since most lack proper ventilation. “There’s potential that the virus can linger in the air for some period of time, and you’re exposed to someone who was there before you,” he mentions. You never really know who can be a carrier of the virus. Dr. Miller recommends showering and changing before you get to the pool, and after you get home. This will minimize surface exposure to pathogens, as well as always washing your hands in the locker room or bathroom in public pools, and avoid touching your face.

We all have to exercise care to be safe, it may seem tedious, but that is the new normal. While we all can’t stay home forever until the virus disappears (hopefully soon), following certain steps to ensure our safety should always be on our minds. Wear masks, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands frequently, it really is not difficult to do. Enjoy life, and stay safe always.