HOW CAN WE BEST ENJOY OUR POOLS AS WE EXIT THE LOCKDOWN?
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to generate major headaches. If, at first, this was due to the rules imposing the lockdown, now that these rules are being eased, the health rules for the return to a new normality are also creating headaches.
In May, the government published in the BOE the rules governing opening pools during the exit from lockdown.
As we have now seen, during Phase 1, pools were opened for individual sports use or, where appropriate, for certain activities carried out by two people while maintaining the recommended safety distance. In addition, a system of circulation routes and maximum capacities was established, delimiting entry and exit areas.
But what about shared-ownership pools? What will happen to them during Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the reopening? Well, it seems that normality will take a little longer to return.
During Phase 2, many owners’ communities will be able to open and use their pools, but, once again, only when complying with a series of health and distance regulations.
RULES AND CONDITIONS FOR POOLS
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have been forced to change certain habits. In order to be able to enjoy swimming in our pools, everything indicates that we are going to have to continue in the same line.
Maximum capacity, prior appointments and staggered access times
The maximum capacity allowed will be 30% of an installation’s capacity, as long as it is possible to respect the two-metre safe distance between users. If this is not possible, the pool’s capacity must be reduced to below 30%.
To access the pool, an appointment will be required, access times will be staggered, and it will not be possible to use the facility outside these times.
Cleaning and disinfection three times a day
Before the initial opening, the facilities must be cleaned and disinfected with special attention to enclosed spaces.
The facility must be cleaned and disinfected daily.
Any surfaces that users’ hands come into frequent contact with must be cleaned and disinfected daily, at least three times a day.
Any other materials available to users must be disinfected.
Separation between users through social distancing
Users will be reminded of the hygiene and prevention regulations by means of visible signage or public address messages.
The facility should not be used by anyone with any symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
In the areas where users accumulate, spatial separation must be established to guarantee a safety distance of at least two metres between users by means of indications on the ground delimiting the spaces. Personal objects may not leave the established two-metre security perimeter in order to avoid contact with other users.
Using changing room drinking fountains and showers is prohibited
The toilets must be equipped with soap and/or hydroalcoholic gels or disinfectants that are registered and authorised by the Ministry of Health.
It will not be possible to use the showers in the changing rooms or the drinking fountains.
The main transmission route is through respiratory secretions. Therefore, transmission through water under standard pool conditions with optimal cleaning and disinfection is highly unlikely.
In swimming pools and spas, where disinfecting agents are widely used in order to avoid users introducing microbial contaminants into the water, the residual concentration of the disinfecting agent present in the water should be sufficient to deactivate the virus.
Although there are no data on the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in seawater or salt-chlorinated pools, the dilution effect as well as the presence of salt, are factors that are likely to contribute to a decrease in viral load and its deactivation by analogy to what happens with similar viruses.
It is very important that we all respect these health measures if we are to enjoy our pools in the safest way possible.
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