Centre Region Parks and Recreation offered more details on safety protocols and schedules that will be in place when Welch and Park Forest community pools open this weekend.
The agency announced last week that the pools would open on Saturday, June 27, after being delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pools will be following state Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines, limiting capacity to 50 percent.
With no group visits, private rentals, swim lessons or swim team activities being scheduled, hours have been extended. For weekdays, fitness and lap swim is 7-9 a.m., lap and family time swim (children 10 and under) is 9 a.m. to noon and general swim is noon to 8 p.m. On weekends and holidays, adult lap swim and toddler time (children 3 and under) is 10 a.m. to noon and general swim is noon to 8 p.m.
There will be no more than two lap swimmers per lane, and each swimmer must start from opposite ends.
Other guidelines announced or further detailed this week include:
- Patrons must wear a mask when entering the pool to be checked in, and whenever interacting with staff at the front desk or on the pool deck. Practicing good hygiene is urged: soap will be available in the bathroom and hand sanitizer at the front desk.
- Season pool passes can be used at either pool. Full refunds on passes already purchased are available through Friday.
- Deck chairs will not be available; patrons should bring their own picnic chairs or plan to use picnic blankets or towels in the grassy area. Picnic tables will be available spread across the facility. Tables should not be moved any of the tables as they are in place for social distancing needs.
- Sanitized life jackets will be available for use; signage will direct patrons from where to pick-up and to return a life jacket.
- All water fountains remain closed at the pools and at Centre Region parks. Patrons can bring their own water and food, or can purchase water bottles from the main desks.
- Pool staff will be on the deck monitoring for social distancing in the water, the deck and on the lawns.
- Diving boards and slides remain closed. "This is due to the inability to keep stairs, handrails, diving board railings and slide entries clean and sanitized on a routine basis," a CRPR news release said. "Not everyone enters these areas directly from the pools (chlorinated water). As the season continues, we will evaluate this policy in hopes of allowing use in the future."
- Increased daily cleanings are scheduled every two hours with additional deep cleans of restrooms and locker rooms at least once per week.
- With capacity limited to 50 percent, patrons should call the front desks on especially hot days before heading to the pools (Welch: 814-237-3964; Park Forest: 814-238-4515).
"The Agency’s main goal will be to provide a fun and safe pool experience while providing protective measures for all pool patrons. Again, while the opening restrictions may seem severe, it is our goal to ensure that we can operate safely," the release said. "If we can relax the policies as the season continues, we will attempt to do so. We will continue to monitor national standards, state protocols, and best practices for operating swimming pools."
For season passes and fee schedules, and for updates, visit the CRPR website.