Some Ohio pools start to reopen, others opt to stay closed

Miami Valley News

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) – Pools, mini golf, and bowling could open Tuesday under Governor Mike DeWine’s orders.

Melody Pool in Clayton is one of the few community pools in Montgomery County even opening this summer. A few others said say the earliest they could reopen is early June, so Melody Pool members said they were so excited that these owners had everything ready in time for today.

Kids were able to make a splash in the sparkling blue water as their guardians watched from socially distanced tables.

It’s the new normal at Melody Pool in Clayton and any public pool in Ohio that chooses to reopen this summer.

“When I first came in, I walked around to make sure families were with their own families and they are,” said Barbara Fisher, who co-owns Melody Pool along with her husband.

Fisher said their membership numbers are currently much lower than normal, but she said that’s changing as nearby community pools announce they’re closing for the entire season.

“The phone is ringing, emails are coming through, and our Facebook page is filling up,” said Fisher. “I know a lot of new members from the Arcanum area, friends of mine from Greenville have already contacted me, and we go as far as Richmond, Indiana.”

Fisher said it’s more expensive to run the pool this year as they’ve had to hire more staff and disinfect surfaces every two hours. But Stephanie Walter said seeing these guidelines gives her peace of mind.

“They’ve got everything set up so that I feel safe here,” said Fisher. They’ve got dots on the pool to show the social distancing, and it’s a huge pool plenty of space.”

And between jumps off the dive board and Marco Polo, kids said they’re just happy to be out of their houses.

“It’s been a little rough because our spring season got cancelled for soccer so we had no sports and we’ve just kind of been sitting,” said Kailee Brooks.

“We’ve been waiting for the pools to open because it’s been sunny and hot out so we were really excited,” added Aiden Williams.

Meanwhile, a few other pools in Montgomery County said they still have plans to reopen, it just wouldn’t be until early June at least.

Dan Suffoletto with Dayton & Montgomery County Public Health said every year they have to inspect pools before they can reopen, and there’s about 350 in the county.

He said Governor DeWine’s announcement of the date pools and other recreational activities could resume was a quick turnaround, so many pools are still prepping for the guidelines they have to meet, and it cut into the time they normally use to inspect pools.

“Typically we start about mid-May doing inspections with those pools so it’s about a two or three week time period,” said Suffoletto. “Each pool kind of comes online at their own pace and most of them target Memorial Day weekend to be fully operational. This year there was a little delay when pools could open so we’re kind of truncating that schedule to fit more pools in in a short period of time.”

Some pools told 2 NEWS they’re just waiting on the inspection to reopen which Suffoletto said shouldn’t take too long since many pools are choosing to not reopen at all, citing health and financial reasons.

But he said this year the inspections do have an added layer, mostly pertaining to social distancing.

“We want to make sure that there’s space around that pool for people to be able to spread out,” said Suffoletto. “So we look that chairs are spread out, communal areas like benches are removed, and make sure there’s enhanced cleaning going on in any common areas.”

Suffoletto said water itself is not a way that COVID-19 spreads, but it’s from people coming close together and breathing, coughing, or sneezing on each other.

So he said when visiting a pool, social distancing is key.

“If you happen to go to a pool and it’s very crowded and you can’t maintain your distance, then maybe go at another time,” said Suffoletto. “Go on off hours during the week or at evening hours if that’s possible. And don’t bring a large group of people with you to the pool. Keep it to a small intimate number of people.”

Suffoletto said masks are not required but are heavily recommended. He said visitors should bring one with them to wear when they’re in locker rooms, at the concession stands, or other communal areas.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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