Montgomery Co. considers bill allowing gym pools to operate without lifeguards

A proposed bill in Montgomery County, Maryland, would allow fitness club pools to run without lifeguards.

It would get rid of the current requirement that all pools with a surface area greater than 2,500 square feet have a lifeguard present.

Andrea Mansfield, representing the six L.A. Fitness clubs in the county, spoke in support of the bill during a Montgomery County Council public hearing Wednesday.

“We really urge your support for the legislation. We see this really as a positive change,” Mansfield said.

State law does not require a lifeguard for semi-public swimming pools or spas where the water surface area is smaller than 2,500 square feet.

However, state regulations allow local jurisdictions to adopt more stringent restrictions.

Council members Sidney Katz and Craig Rice sponsored the bill with the goal of helping the fitness industry after coronavirus restrictions impacted their businesses.

Mansfield also noted in her testimony that while there wouldn’t be lifeguards, there would still be safeguards in place.

“Someone still has to be at the club that has been trained in CPR, as well as having the phone emergency alert system that would go right to 911,” Mansfield said.

Next for the bill is a council Health and Human Services Committee meeting.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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