Put the inflatables and pool noodles away. Swimming pools in Montgomery County, Maryland, will remain closed on Memorial Day weekend.
That weekend is when most outdoor swimming pools in the D.C. area start to open, kicking off the unofficial start of summer. But with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials said that public and private community pools will not open by Memorial Day.
“We know that many in the community equate pool openings with the official start of the summer season, but ongoing COVID-19 restrictions make it impossible to safely open so that swimmers and employees are protected from the spread,” said County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles.
This includes aquatic centers operated by Montgomery County Recreation, as well as apartment and condominium complex pools and private swim clubs.
Swimming pool operators should still perform pre-opening maintenance and inspections, as there could be scheduling delays once an opening date is announced.
When the facilities do reopen, swimmers and other users can expect changes with regard to physical distancing, wearing of face coverings and other hygiene practices.
Montgomery County Recreation has seven public outdoor pools:
- Bethesda Outdoor Pool
- Germantown Outdoor Pool
- Long Branch Outdoor Pool
- Martin Luther King Jr. Outdoor Pool
- Sara E. Auer Western County Outdoor Pool
- Sgt. Hector I. Ayala Wheaton-Glenmont Outdoor Pool
- Upper County Outdoor Pool
Indoor pools remain closed as well. When they reopen, the county said there will be new procedures that could limit admission to county residents and current pass holders, a limit on the number of people admitted and the closure of some pool features. People may also be asked to bring their own pool chairs.
Montgomery County Recreation Director Robin Riley told WTOP that the closures are a little disappointing but notes public and private community pools aren’t like other outdoor venues.
“An outdoor beach, there’s a lot of spaces that you can really spread out,” said Riley. “There’s not a lot of touch surfaces. With an indoor and outdoor pool, you’re using locker rooms and restrooms. It’s a different environment and requires a lot more thought and thinking around safety protocols.”
Riley said they’re still in the process of training staffers for an eventual opening.
“We think we’ll be prepared within a week or so once we get the green light to open,” said Riley. “We think we’ll be ready to open up at least on a limited basis.”
Montgomery County currently has the second-highest confirmed infections in the state, preceded by neighboring Prince George’s County.
WTOP’s Ken Duffy contributed to this report.
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