Marysville officials are hoping they can open the municipal pool before the end of the month.
“I am hoping May 29, if we can get the staff and everything in place,” said Marysville City Manager Terry Emery. “I am being optimistic, but that is my goal.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the city pool was scheduled to open May 23. The pool season was jeopardized when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine closed pools, gyms and all nonessential businesses and destinations in March. Last Week, DeWine said pools can open May 26, provided they follow strict safety guidelines.
“This is much, much more than we anticipated, sooner than we anticipated,” Emery said. “I think we were fortunate to have held the line and not closed the pool early.”
He said the city is “working to put together a staff we will need, as well as put together all of the infrastructure and everything we will need to operate the pool and operate it as safely as we can and follow the state’s directives.”
He said this year, “will look a lot different than people are used to at the pool.”
Emery said he has already had discussions with the Union County Health Commissioner to make sure the city pool can open safely and stay open.
Pool operators are being required to reduce capacity to ensure guests can stay six feet apart from other people. Facilities are also to be cleaned and disinfected often.
Swimmers will be mandated to practice social distancing and will not be allowed to gather in groups larger than 10. Swimmers are being told to stay home if they’re sick.
The state recommends guests wear face coverings as they enter and leave pool areas and aquatic centers, but not while they’re swimming.
Emery said he believes the local pool will be able to operate the concession stand, but does not yet know about things like the slide, diving boards, restrooms and showers.
He stressed that pool memberships are still on sale at a 15% discount. He said that if the pool needs to limit the number of patrons allowed inside, those with a pool membership will be given preference.
Because city officials had been optimistic they could open the pool this summer, Emery said the city was “in the process of putting our staff together all along.”
He said because of the confusion about whether and when pools could open, the city did lose some potential employees. Additionally, Emery said it has been difficult for some potential employees to get certified.
“A lot of those certification classes were not operating because of the pandemic,” Emery explained.
He said the pool has 15 certified lifeguards. He said that is enough to open, but not enough to get through the full season.
“We are kind of scrambling a bit to get an ample number of certified guards in place,” Emery said
Traditionally the pool opens on Memorial Day weekend. Emery said that because Memorial Day is early this year, the reopening schedule will give the pool almost the same number of operating days as it has had in past years.
“Is like we are going to be able to have as regular a season as we can imagine,” Emery said.
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