Precautions added to help keep patrons safe
The Aurora Aquatic Center will welcome swimmers seeking summer fun and heat relief as of Saturday, though pool managers say 2020 will be anything but a normal swim season.
“The pool is a great place for kids, but I don’t think kids quite understand everything, especially the younger ones,” said Eli Cerveny, who is back for another year as co-manager with Madison Farris. “We just want to stay safe.”
The Streeter Park pool, as well as many others across the state, remained closed through the months of May and June due to the ongoing threat and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Aurora City Council announced plans June 23 to open the pool July 11 for a shortened season, with closing day tentatively set for Aug. 12. The Cole Park splash pad is now open to the public as well.
Cerveny said she talked to pool managers from other communities, which have been allowed to open their facilities earlier, to see what lessons they have learned that might be helpful here in Aurora.
“We are doing something a little different this year,” Cerveny explained of a plan to have three two-hour swim sessions each day the pool is open. “We’ll have session one, then we’ll close and we’ll clean (with a water/Clorox solution). Then we’ll have session two, close and clean. And then we’ll have a session three. That will allow us to disinfect anything that is touchable, including hand rails and diving boards. Those get done every day anyway, but now we’ll do it in between sessions as well.” (See the Aurora Aquatic
(See the Aurora Aquatic Center advertisement on this page for details on open swim hours and season pass information.)
Swimmers will be allowed to attend more than one session, though they will be asked to leave the pool between sessions and check back in.
The pool’s capacity is 500 people, though under Phase 3 pandemic protocol pools are limited to 75 percent of that number, or 375. Under the previous Phase 2 guidelines which ended here Sunday, attendance would have been limited to 25 percent, or 125 people.
“Hopefully by going to 75 percent we won’t have to worry about not allowing people in each session,” said Jeremy Cattau, the city’s parks superintendent. In 2019, the average daily attendance for the 70 days the pool opened was 211.
Other safety measures have been taken as well, all in an attempt to encourage social distancing as much as possible.
“For Phase 3 it’s a guideline, which says you have to stay six feet apart, but it’s not a Directed Health Measure,” Cattau explained. “We’re going to try to recommend it, but it allows our lifeguards to not have to patrol it. Phase 2, as a DHM, would have been much more challenging. You have to understand you’re putting yourself at risk under the Phase 3 guidelines.”
Another change as part of this year’s pandemic safety measures is the detail required during daily registration. Rather than just sign in as a season pass holder, for example, listing a number in your party, families or groups will be asked to provide specific details.
“We want to be able to know when someone comes in in case we needed to contact them,” Cattau said. “We’ll have to keep track of who is here (by day and by session) so if someone becomes infected (with COVID-19) two days down the road then we have to go back to that day when they were here and contact all of those people. Hopefully nobody gets it, but if somebody does the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) is going to want to know where you were the last two weeks.”
Social distancing will be encouraged outside the pool as well.
“We will space out our plastic chairs, which are easier to disinfect than our mesh chairs,” Cerveny noted. “We’ll ask people not to move the chairs so we can space them out.”
The canopy shades on the south side of the pool will not be put up this year, since people tend to congregate underneath the shade. The pool was filled with
The pool was filled with water June 30 and since that time managers have been busy coordinating the necessary training for lifeguards and crossing guards. Some who had initially signed on for the job as early as February either took different jobs or are no longer available, though Cerveny said there are plenty of staff members being trained to cover the 13 daily shifts.
‘For Phase 3 it’s a guideline which says you have to stay six feet apart, but it’s not a Directed Health Measure. You have to understand you are putting yourself at risk.’
Jeremy Cattau, Aurora parks superintendent