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What You Need to Know About Swimming in Pools this Summer

What You Need to Know About Swimming in Pools this Summer

Like any outdoor activity, there is a certain amount of risk in swimming in pools due to the coronavirus. Should you choose to take it, here’s how you can do so as safely as possible.


Updated July 13: While new restrictions and guidelines were set for visiting beaches during coronavirus, many families, especially those in the suburbs, are wondering if it’s safe to swim in backyard and public swimming pools and if they can have friends, neighbors, or even extended family over to cool down with them. Aslam Jangda, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician at Crystal Run Healthcare, and his daughter Maha Jangda, a recent medical school graduate, compiled some safety tips (with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to separate fact from fiction when it comes to swimming in pools this summer.

The good news is, the CDC has not yet detected the virus in water that is treated with filtration and disinfection (pool water). In other words, it is believed that the chemicals in your pool can kill or inactivate the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. However, safety measures should not be taken lightly. Dr. Aslam Jangda stresses that it’s best for friends and families to continue practicing social distancing and avoid going into pools together. If your family chooses to take the risk of swimming in backyard pools this summer, here are the answers to some questions that can help you swim in backyard pools as safely as possible.

Can the coronavirus spread through pool water?

There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread from person to person through the water in swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas, as long as the water is well-maintained and cleaned regularly, according to the CDC. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water. 

Pool owners should follow the CDC’s pool safety guidelines before swimming in or allowing others to swim in their pool. The Water Quality & Health Council is offering free pool test kits so pool owners can measure the chlorine level and pH of water backyard pools through its 16th annual Healthy Pools campaign. You can also download this free poster from the CDC for using and storing pool chemicals safely

Does chlorine kill coronavirus?

Remember: Well-maintained pools are less likely to spread germs. “The average amount of chlorine that’s in a pool is going to kill the virus,” says Roberta Lavin, a professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing. So the answer is yes, it is believed that chlorine can inactivate the coronavirus.

But there is something we need to keep in mind, especially with younger kids swimming in pools. Peeing in the pool isn’t only gross (though kids will inevitably do it at least once in their lives), pee reacts with chlorine, reducing the amount of chemical available to kill any viruses in the water, according to the Water Quality & Health Council. So if there’s any summer to not pee in the pool, it’s this one.

“Just as you should wear a mask when out in public today, in the pool you should protect yourself and other swimmers by practicing good swimmer hygiene—don’t pee in the pool and remember to shower before swimming,” says Chris Wiant, M.P.H., Ph.D., chair of the Water Quality & Health Council. 

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Safe Summer Fun as New York Reopens

Are saltwater swimming pools safe to swim in during the coronavirus pandemic?

There is no evidence that supports the inactivation of the coronavirus in saltwater pools, so they should be avoided for now, Dr. Aslam Jangda recommends. Saltwater pools generally have lower chlorine levels, which puts an individual at higher risk for coronavirus than if they were in an average chlorinated pool.

Are hot tubs safe to use during COVID-19 pandemic?

The CDC says there is no evidence to back up the survival potential of the virus in hot tubs as long as they are well maintained and disinfected. However, since hot tubs have a much smaller diameter than pools, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to properly distance yourself from others while in a hot tub. So avoid hot tubs as much as you can.

RELATED: Sun Exposure and Sunscreen Guide for Kids

Is keeping 6 feet distance in the pool enough to keep you safe?

No, it’s not enough. Pool-goers should practice social distance as well as good hygiene when getting in and out of the pool. Keep in mind: While swimming (especially kids), people are often touching their face, mouth, and nose more often than normal, whether it is to rub your eyes after coming up for air or hold your nose. Some tips from the CDC for maintaining good hygiene while swimming are:

  • Follow local and state guidelines that determine when and how recreational water facilities may operate, including how many can be present in a pool in accordance to its size

  • Minimize the amount of surfaces being touched before getting into the pool and after getting out

  • Wash your hands

  • Do not share towels or toys (volleyballs, beach balls, floaties, etc.).

  • Owners of pools, hot tubs, spas, and play areas should follow the interim guidance for cleaning and disinfecting their water facilities

Can more than one family or a  group that has been quarantined together be in the pool at the same time?

Multiple families who are quarantined separately should avoid going into the same swimming pool together. We don’t know each family’s status of infection and in pools there is a risk of direct exposure. Members of the same family (living and quarantining in the same household) can go in the pool together

RELATED: How Child Care Centers are Keeping Kids Safe Upon Reopening

Can we share pool toys or floaties?

No. It is best to avoid contact as much as possible. While disinfecting pool toys does decrease the risk of contracting the viral infection, it is best to avoid sharing  pool equipment altogether. Group games that involve floaties, water volleyball, water basketball, and anything that involves multiple people interacting in close proximity should be discontinued as well. Families should maintain an acceptable amount of distance between one another and bring your own pool toys, floaties, and chairs.  

Remember, when swimming in a pool with friends and family, you need to take responsibility for your own protection and for disinfecting your hands, your children’s hands, and anything you touch in the pool area. You should operate under the assumption that people are infected. The virus can hang around in the air in the form of tiny droplets called aerosols for up to 30 minutes. Here are some extra tips to keep safe:

  • If you or anyone in your family has symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, loss of taste/smell) do not use the pool. In fact, you should stay home.

  • Wear a face mask when you are not in the swimming pool.

  • Make sure the pool is properly sanitized with chlorine and bromine.

  • Stay socially distanced at all times, both in and out of the water.

  • Keep the pool gathering to a small group of trusted friends/family who you are sure have been following the rules of social distancing.

Will public pools open in New York this summer?

On June 11, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that public pools can reopen throughout New York State this summer. He says it is up to local governments to determine when and if it is safe to do so.

"[The local governments] have to use their judgement here," Cuomo said in his briefing on June 11. "They have the test data, they should be studying the test data. They should be looking at those positive [cases] and seeing where they are coming from. If positives are in a cluster, a neighborhood that has that pool, don't open that pool."

Here are the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for staying safe while visiting a public pool:

  • Pool owners and attendants must encourage patrons to wash their hands often and cover coughs and sneezes
  • Pool attendees must wear masks when applicable, but not in the water because when wet, cloth masks can be a breathing hazard
  • All pools must have a good amount of soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans on-hand
  • Pool owners should modify the pool layout to encourage proper social distancing and post signs to remind attendants of this fact
  • Pools should be disinfected often, especially on frequently touched surfaces
  • If someone gets sick after going to the pool, owners must notify health officials and inform anyone in the area who was in close contact with said person to stay home and close off/ disinfect areas used by said sick person

Public Pools Opening in Westchester this Summer

Anthony F Veteran Park Pool
11 Olympic Ln, Hartsdale
(914) 693-8985
Plans to open July 6, with several restrictions that have not yet been implemented. Open for only Incorporated Greenburgh residents only. 

Bedford Hills Memorial Pool
Saw Mill River Pkwy, Bedford Hills
(914) 666-7150 or recreation office at (914) 666-7004
Opening July 3 with passes available for residents only. Will likely use “sessions” for social distancing, but are still figuring out the logistics. 100 pool patrons permitted at one time. 

Bedford Village Pool
Greenwich Rd, Bedford
(914) 234-3246 or recreation office at (914) 666-7004
Opening July 3, with passes available for residents only. Will likely use “sessions” for social distancing, but are still figuring out the logistics. 100 pool patrons permitted at one time.  Each Bedford hamlet pool offers a fun, but competitive swim and dive team that children ages 6-18 can join! There are swim lessons for little ones, birthday parties at the pool, and special family events at each hamlet pool and park that help round out the summer fun.

Briarcliff Pool 
3 Library Road, Briarcliff Manor
(914) 941-6560
Opening day will be announced soon (earliest June 26). Patrons must adhere to social distancing protocol, and each party will be given a grass area to stay on. Masks must be on whenever you leave your designated grassy area. Facility chairs will not be available, but patrons can bring their own lightweight chairs.  All children under 16 years of age as of July 1, 2020 must be accompanied at all times by a responsible adult, 18 years or older. Pool concessions will be open operating under a health safety protocol. 

Chemka Pool
1 Chemka Pool Rd, Hastings-on-Hudson
(914) 478-2380 Ext 640
Opening in late June 

Hommocks Pool 
140 Hommocks Rd, Larchmont
(914) 381-7865
Temporarily closed.

Katonah Memorial Pool
High St, Katonah
(914) 232-9349 or recreation office (914) 666-7004
Opening July 3, with passes available for residents only. Will likely use “sessions” for social distancing, but are still figuring out the logistics. 100 pool patrons permitted at one time. 

Kittrell Park Pool
120 Fisher Ave, White Plains
(914) 422-1336
Opening July 1 for season pass holders only, no guests.

Mount Pleasant Town Pool 
125 Lozza Dr, Valhalla
(914) 769-1766
Temporarily closed. 

Saxon Woods Pool 
1800 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
(914) 995-4480 or 4481
Opening Friday, June 26
Westchester residents only, opening Friday, June 26. Hours: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Two daily sessions, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. All tickets sold at the pool day of visit. When Session One is sold out at locations, Session Two tickets will go on sale. Adults and children $4 admission (children younger than 5 are free)  

Scarsdale Municipal Pool
311 Mamaroneck Rd, Scarsdale
(914) 722-1292
Tentative opening scheduled for July 18

Sprain Ridge Pool
149 Jackson Ave, Yonkers
(914) 231-3450
Opening June 26 for Westchester residents only, and at 50 percent capacity. There will be two daily sessions to encourage social distancing, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. All tickets will be sold at the pool on the day of visit. When Session One is sold out at locations, Session Two tickets will go on sale. Showers, grilling areas, and the aqua splash pad will be closed. Bathrooms will be open, and the concession stand will be open with social distancing protocols.  

Tibbetts Brook Park
355 Midland Ave, Yonkers
(914) 231-2865
Open for Westchester residents only at 50 percent capacity starting on July 3. Two daily sessions, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. All tickets sold at the pool day of visit. When Session One is sold out at locations, Session Two tickets will go on sale. Adults and children $4 admission (children younger than 5 are free). Showers, tubes, aqua playground, basketball court or slides all closed. Bathrooms are open, and concessions are open with social distancing protocol.   

Willson’s Woods Swimming Pool 
8 Bradford Rd, Mt Vernon
(914) 813-6990
Open daily for Westchester residents only at 50 percent capacity. There will be two daily sessions to encourage social distancing, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. All tickets will be sold at the pool on the day of visit. When Session One is sold out at locations, Session Two tickets will go on sale. Showers, grilling areas, waves, aqua playground, splash pad and slides all remain closed. Bathrooms will be open, and the concession stand will be open with social distancing protocols.  


Public Pools Opening in Rockland County This Summer

Spook Rock Swimming Pool
Spook Rock Rd, Suffern
(845) 357-4464
Anticipated opening June 29, only Ramapo residents with valid ID cards. You can apply for an ID card here, they are not available at the pool. 

Saddle River Pool
448 Saddle River Rd, Airmont
(845) 356-0525
Anticipated opening June 29, only Ramapo residents with valid ID cards. You can apply for an ID card here, they are not available at the pool.

Tallman Beach and Pool Club 
2 Tallman Mountain Rd, Sparkill
(845) 422-7126
Intends to open in near future. Recommends that patrons buy season passes soon, since there will be limited capacity upon reopening. There will still be entertainment provided on weekends

Public Pools Opening in Nassau County This Summer

Averill Boulevard Park and Swimming Pool Complex 
145 Averill Blvd, Elmont
516-437-5881
Opening July 3

Christopher Morley Park
500 Searingtown Rd N, Roslyn
(516) 571-8113
Opening July 3; residents only

Cantiague Park 
480 West John Street, Hicksville
516-571-7056
Hours: daily, 10am-6pm. Open Monday, June 29- September 7
The swimming pool complex, named by News12 Long Island's viewers as "the best outdoor swimming facility on Long Island," includes an Olympic-sized pool, two water slides, a diving pool, a "kiddie" pool, a training pool and an interactive water-play area. Lockers, showers and a refreshment area are located near the pool. Fee required, with Leisure Pass holders eligible for a discount.

Forest City Community Park 
2967 Pond Rd, Wantagh
516-783-2516
Opening July 3. Forest City Community Park is located in the town of Hempstead. Features of this particular park are a 6,000 square foot L-shaped pool with a diving area at one end. Ponds covering 6 acres of land and nature trails. Picnic areas, playgrounds and baseball fields also available.

Harold Walker Memorial Park
1085 Woodfield Rd, Rockville Centre
516-766-2277
Opening July 3

Hewlett Point Park
130 Hewlett Point Avenue, Bay Park
516-599-4064
Opening July 3

Newbridge Road Park
2600 Newbridge Rd, Bellmore
(516) 783-2500
Opening by June 27

Oceanside Park
3800 Mahlon Brower Drive, Oceanside
516-763-0700
Opening July 3

Roosevelt Pool
14 Harts Ave, Roosevelt
(516) 623-7414
Aiming to open July 3

Wantagh Park
1 King Rd, Wantagh
516-571-7460
Opening July 3

Echo Park Pool Complex 
319-439 Nassau Boulevard, West Hempstead
(516) 483-7400
Outdoor pool opening June 27; Open to residents only

Public Pools Opening in Suffolk County This Summer

*The towns of Brookhaven, Babylon, Islip, Huntington, and Smithtown announced that they have decided to keep community pools closed this summer.

Hidden Pond Pool
660 Terry Rd, Hauppauge
(631) 232-3222
Opening June 27-August 23
Hours: Daily 10:30am-6:30pm
The pool may be closed on the weekends to all non-members without prior notice to avoid exceeding attendance limits. We will re-open to all patrons as crowds permit. This policy is for the safety and enjoyment of all. Children under the age of 3 are admitted for FREE. Children ages 3 and older are admitted under the parent or guardian’s recreation card at the $8 admission. Residents with a valid Town of Islip Recreation Card pay $8. Residents without a valid Town of Islip Recreation Card (With driver's License) pay $12. Resident seniors pay $2, and all non-residents pay $15.00

Public Pools Opening in Manhattan This Summer

Hamilton Fish Park
Pitt Street and Houston Street, East Village
212-387-7691
Opening Aug. 1
Hours: 11am-7pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm

Jackie Robinson Park
Bradhurst Avenue and West 146th Street, Harlem
212-234-9606
Opening Aug. 1
Hours: 11am-7pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Olympic-sized pool that only goes three-and-a-half feet deep. Playground and sprayground on the pool deck.

Wagner Pool
East 124th Street between First and Second Avenues, East Harlem
212-534-4238
Opening July 24
Hours: 11am-7pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Medium-sized pool and wading pool

Marcus Garvey Pool
124th Street and Fifth Avenue, Harlem
212-410-2818
Opening Aug. 1
Hours: 11am-7pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Maximum depth of four feet deep. Large pool deck surrounding it.

Roosevelt Island Manhattan Park Pool
30 River Road, Roosevelt Island
212-308-4040
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm; Weekends and holidays, 10am-8pm
Non-Roosevelt Island residents can enjoy access for a fee of $30 on weekdays throughout the season and $50 on weekends.

Public Pools Opening in Queens This Summer

Astoria Park 
19th Street and 23rd Drive, Astoria
718-626-8620
Opening Aug. 1
Hours: 11am-7pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
The largest pool in the city (330 feet in length). The wading area is roped off for little kids

Liberty Pool (Detective Keith L Williams Park)
173rd Street and 106th Avenue, Jamaica
718-657-4995
Opening July 24
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm

Fisher Pool
99th Street at 32nd Avenue, East Elmhurst
718-779-8356
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Opening Aug. 1
 

Public Pools Opening in Brooklyn This Summer

Sunset Park
7th Avenue between 41-44th Streets, Sunset Park
718-972-2180
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Opening Aug. 1

Betsy Head Park
Boyland Street between Livonia and Dumont Avenues, Brownsville
718-257-1635
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Opening Aug. 1
New playground and olympic-sized pool that goes as deep as four feet

Kosciuoszko Pool
Marcy Avenue between DeKalb Avenue and Kosciuszo Street, Bed-Stuy
718-622-5271
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Opening Aug. 1
Olympic-sized pool and wading pool



Public Pools Opening this Summer in the Bronx

Crotona Pool
173rd Street and Fulton Avenue, Crotona
718-822-4440
Hours:  11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Opening Aug. 1
Olympic-sized pool and sprayground on the deck

Mullaly Park
164th Street between Jerome and River Avenues, Morrisiana
718-538-7083
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Opening July 24
Medium-sized pool, playground, sprinklers, and a skate park

Haffen Park
Burke Avenue at Ely Avenue, Baychester
718-379-2908
Reopening Aug. 1
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Medium-sized pool and wading pool
 

Public Pools Opening this Summer on Staten Island 

Lyons Pool
Pier 6 and Victory Boulevard, Westerleigh
718-816-9571
Reopening Aug. 1
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm

Tottenville Pool
Hylan Boulevard and Joline Avenue, Tottenville
718-356-8242
Reopening Aug. 1 
Hours: 11am-4pm with a daily break for cleaning between 3-4pm
Medium-sized pool and wading pool

 

We will continue to update this guide as more information about public pool openings becomes available.

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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes, a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, is the production editor for NYMetroParents. When she's not writing, she can be found playing the guitar or eating pasta. See More

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