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New guidelines for pools in St. Louis County when they can reopen

Public pools can reopen on June 15
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Pools in St. Louis County will be allowed to reopen soon.

Last month, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said pools can reopen on June 15. The guidelines by St. Louis County go into effect on June 15.

Spray grounds, splash pads and water playgrounds should remain closed because of the inability to safely separate household groups in those environments, according to the guidelines on the county’s website.

Single user slides and water rides accommodating small groups that can be limited to single user or household per ride, can operate with social distancing line markers and disinfecting of high touch surfaces between each user or individual household group.

Below is the reopening criteria for St. Louis County Public Water Recreation Facilities (PWRF) from St. Louis County’s website

Social distancing

  • Limit bather load to 25% or less of the approved bather load for the facility (including spectators or others not swimming).
  • Limit the number of staff/attendants in shared spaces, including break rooms and offices, to maintain at least 6 feet of separation between people.
  • Provide a physical barrier, such as sneeze guards and partitions at cash registers and counters where physical distancing is not possible.
  • Use contactless check-in by having patrons swipe their own cards in card readers or submit advanced payment online.
  • Notify patrons upon entering of expectations for navigating in and around the PWRF to maintain social distancing, and emphasize the necessity of obeying ground markings and signage.
  • Provide additional signage throughout facilities as needed for understanding of ground markings and requirements at concessions, where lines form and for water play features.
  • Provide a 3 ft. wide, one-way walkway using deck markings from the pool entrance(s) that extends around the pool(s).
  • Designate additional walkways to and from restrooms, concessions, up/down stairs, entrances/exits, and other high traffic areas where possible.
  • Provide ground markings 6 ft. apart where lines form for entry, concessions, restrooms, locker rooms, drinking fountains, and play features.
  • Remove chairs and tables from the pool deck and other seating areas where impractical to clean after each guest and allow patrons to bring their own chairs, with limitations on size and type of chair to be determined by pool operator. Chairs must be spaced to maintain 6 foot spacing between individual groups.
  • Limit each group size to 6 people or fewer where possible.
  • Members of the same household may be seated together.
  • Provide additional attendants to monitor lines for play features surrounded by water where markings cannot be placed.
  • Provide an adequate number of attendants throughout the PWRF to monitor patron adherence to distancing rules, and remove those who are putting others at risk.
  • Establish adult supervision ratio requirements for those unable to understand distancing rules, such as small children.
  • Heavily used PWRFs shall consider a reservation system with staggered arrival times to avoid crowding and establish an orderly method for patrons to determine available space prior to arrival.
  • Consider use of different colored wrist bands if time limits need to be assigned based on capacity and level of demand for facility usage.
  • Consider providing new pool rules, instructional videos, distancing requirements, and other educational materials on the facility’s web page or as part of the registration system.
  • Consider making regular announcements over the PA system promoting social distancing measures and good hygiene.
  • Hot tubs where social distancing cannot be maintained due to small size shall remain closed.

Health screening and monitoring

  • Check temperature of staff upon arrival at beginning of each shift using a touchless thermometer. Send staff home if temperature is 100.4 degrees or above.
  • Provide a sign at PWRF entrance(s) listing COVID-19 symptoms that notifies patrons not to enter the facility if symptomatic or if they have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, new or worsened cough, trouble breathing, new or worsening body aches, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • Staff/attendants and patrons should be screened and sent home if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or if they have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • Anyone sent home with symptoms should self-quarantine until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue or they have been cleared by a healthcare provider.
  • Keep a record of patrons and staff visiting the PWRF to assist health officials in identifying contacts should a patron or attendant become ill with COVID-19. This can be managed through use of membership cards or passes, entry key records or Point of Sale transactions. A hand written registry may also be used.

Protective equipment

  • Patrons and staff shall wear fabric or disposable face coverings when not in the pool or eating at dinning tables.
  • The PWRF operator shall provide protective equipment to staff, such as gloves and fabric or disposable face masks.
  • Staff must be trained to properly don and doff protective equipment in such a way as to avoid touching contaminated surfaces or transferring contaminants to face, nose, or mouth.
  • Face coverings are required be changed if they become soiled or wet.
  • The PWRF shall provide no-touch waste containers throughout the facility for discarding used protective equipment.
  • Waste receptacles should be emptied frequently. Gloves shall be worn while emptying trash. After emptying trash, remove the gloves and wash or sanitize hands.

Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting

  • Pool water chemical balance must be monitored and tested no less than once every 2 hours of operation and prior to opening each day to ensure adherence to the requirements of the Saint Louis County Public Water Recreation Facilities Code
  • If water does not meet code specifications, the staff or attendant must immediately close the facility and it must remain closed until such time as code requirements can be restored and maintained.
  • Hand-washing must remain a top priority. Patrons shall be encouraged to wash their hands after using restrooms and prior to eating. If hand-washing stations are not readily available, hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol may be used.
  • If restrooms are not available at the PWRF, portable handwashing stations with liquid soap, disposable paper towels, and a waste receptacle must be provided and kept stocked with supplies.
  • Hand sanitizer shall be provided throughout large PWRF for patrons and attendants where hand washing stations are not readily available.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces throughout the facility often, such as shower and toilet fixtures and handles, door knobs, handrails, ladders, pool coping edges, counter surfaces, touch pads, light switches, baby changing stations, play structures, counters, lounge chairs, etc., using the EPA List N disinfectants that are best suited for your aquatic venue. Preference should be given for touchless trash can lids.
  • Avoid use of shared objects, such as pool noodles, kickboards and floatation devices. If shared objects must be used, disinfect using an EPA List N disinfectant after each use.
  • Discontinue use of shared objects that cannot be easily cleaned and/or come into contact with the face, nose, or mouth, such as goggles, nose clips and snorkels.
  • Discontinue group events, gatherings, or meetings both in and out of the water where social distancing of at least 6 feet between people who don’t live in the same household cannot be maintained.

Food service and vending machines

  • All food operations must adhere to the Saint Louis County Food Code.
  • Please refer to the Restaurant Operating Protocols for additional operational considerations necessary to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in food establishments and dining areas.
  • Vending machine key pads, buttons, change slots and food retrieval areas shall be disinfected regularly using an EPA N List registered disinfecting product. Hand sanitizer should be placed near devices using touchpad or buttons.

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