Riverside County health officials issued new guidelines for the use and operation of community pools in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines apply to pools and spas at apartment complexes and those operated by homeowners’ associations.
The guidelines, developed by the Department of Environmental Health with input from Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser, suggest that swimmers stay six-feet apart and limit themselves to lanes. Large groups should refrain from gathering.
Residents should wear a cloth face covering when traveling through common areas of the property where it may not be possible to maintain physical distancing, including to and from the pool, barbeque area, and shared restrooms. Residents should bring hand sanitizer, or it should be provided by the pool operator.
Operators should use scheduled time slots on the busiest days, close the spa or limit use to one person or household at a time, create a written disinfection plan that identifies frequently touched surfaces, a schedule, and designated person to complete disinfection tasks.
An EPA-approved disinfectant should be used on commonly touched surfaces, including but not limited to gates, latches, tables, chairs, drinking fountains, pool handrails, countertops, and restroom door handles, light switches, faucets, latches, and dispensers. Shared restrooms should be check frequently to ensure they are stocked with hand soap and paper towels.
Lounge chairs and/or tables should be properly distanced. If they cannot be distanced, they should be secured and stored.
Signage should be posted to remind residents to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes, and to avoid the pool area if they are experiencing symptoms of illness including a fever of 100°F or above, sore throat, runny nose, chills, not feeling well, sneezing, coughing, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.
According to health officials, there is no evidence that coronavirus can be spread to humans through the use of pools and spas; however, maintaining good chlorine levels in our community pools may help to prevent its spread. Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential to protecting human health during disease outbreaks.
“While we continue to stay in place, we want residents to benefit from as much safe activity outdoors as possible,” said Riverside County Board of Supervisors Chair V. Manuel Perez. “These guidelines are a sensible way to do that with community swimming pools.”
As of Tuesday evening, there had been 4,454 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Riverside County and 184 deaths.
For more information about health and safety requirements for community pools and spas, visit www.rivcoeh.org/ourservices/poolsspaswaterfeatures.