“The fun of our lives is seeing people in the pool,” said Chris Wagg, City of Ottawa recreation supervisor. “It’s really important for people… to go out in the pools and swim and have fun in the summer. ”
WATCH: Ottawa pools will begin reopening in stages
Wagg said the city will limit the number of people who can swim at the same time depending on the size of the pool. All swimmers are expected to stay within six feet, or just under two meters, of the others inside and outside the pools.
Visitors will need to book swimming times in advance. In public pools, people will be able to schedule hour-long sessions for public and corridor swimming online.
At the wading pools, they will have to find a place in person.
“We are planning some queues,” said Wagg. ” [But] we did social distancing activities, so I think people are used to that. ”
Staff will ask pool users screening questions to find out if they have had flu-like symptoms or if they have traveled recently.
Physical distance will also change the way rescuers and wading personnel handle injuries and rescues, said Wagg.
“Used to [being] practice and go straight to the kids who fell and scratched their knees, “said Wagg. Now we are going to hire the parents to help us with first aid, because we have to get away from society. So we will only do rescues if we have to. ”
Low risk of spread
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said in a statement that there is little scientific evidence showing that the virus can spread in properly treated water.
But OPH has warned that common areas and surfaces could be places where transmission occurs.
“Individuals should consider that areas around swimming pools and lakes, such as changing rooms, beaches and docks can be transmission points for the virus due to the congestion and lack of use of masks”, said their statement. “The concern for close contact should also apply in the water and you should practice physical distance in the water as people can breathe heavily, spit or shout. ”
The City of Ottawa has stated that improved cleaning procedures will be in place for the common areas, locker rooms and washrooms. Equipment that is not regularly in contact with chlorinated water will be disinfected at least every four hours.
For more information on pool planning and the new rules, visit the city’s website.