Your Pool and COVID-19: How to Stay Safe This Summer
The COVID-19 pandemic has made us stop to consider the possible health hazards and repercussions of our once seemingly harmless plans. Now, even something like opening the family pool for the summer requires us to ask, “Will this be safe?”
When it comes to opening your pool for the summer, we’re here to advise you on the best ways to stay safe while enjoying your time poolside.
Can COVID-19 Be Spread Through Pool Water?
While there are many aspects of COVID-19 that researchers have yet to learn about, one thing is largely agreed upon: you will not catch the virus through pool water.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says, “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs or water playgrounds.”
They added that the chemicals that are normally used to clean pools, such as chlorine and bromine, are strong enough to render the virus inactive when used along with proper operation and maintenance. If you’re using a reputable pool cleaning service, they’ll ensure your pool stays clean and maintained, which essentially eliminates the likelihood of COVID-19 spread.
If COVID Doesn’t Spread Through Water, Should I Still Be Cautious?
Yes. Just because the virus does not spread through your water does not mean the possibility of contracting COVID-19 around your pool is zero. The keyword here is “around.”
Think about a typical pool party you might throw during the summer. You invite over the neighbors and your children’s friends, who enter through your front door, set their things down and exit your patio door to get to the pool. A few people have to change into their swimsuits, and a few others need a snack or a drink. Everyone uses your pool ladder to get in and out of the pool, and they also take advantage of the stack of towels you’ve provided.
Think about how many different hands have touched surfaces in and around your house and your pool. Door knobs, handles, railings, chairs, clothes, tables, beds, hand towels – it’s impossible to count the number of objects that could now be infected due to the new people you’ve introduced into your home.
Plus, COVID-19 is so dangerous because it’s a respiratory disease that spreads easily through droplets launched into the air by a person sneezing, talking or simply breathing. This means the more people you’re in close distance with, the higher your risk may be for contracting the virus.
So, while your pool is not a possible threat to your family’s health, the factors surrounding your pool – how often it’s cleaned, who is allowed to swim there and what precautions are taken by family members or guests – are what can make the difference when it comes to keeping your family safe this summer.
What Can I Do to Reduce the Possible Risks?
While this swimming season may not look exactly like the ones before it, there are simple and effective precautions you can take that will still allow you to enjoy your pool for the summer.
- Cut Down on Pool Parties: It’s fun to have the whole family over, but those gatherings will have to wait until next year. For now, focus on smaller groups of around 10 people or less, and make it clear if anyone is feeling ill, they must stay home for the good of the group. If at all possible, the safest thing to do is to keep your pool users to only the people in your household.
- Social Distance Demarcations: If you decide to have guests over, use items like lane lines to create barriers or measurements of 6 feet, so your guests know how close they can be to one another.
- BYO-Everything: Ask your guests if they can provide their own towels, swimsuits, goggles or any other personal items you might normally be inclined to share with friends or family.
- Remove Pool Toys: While we can be sure COVID can’t be transmitted through water, we’re still learning about how long the virus can live on the materials of different objects. For this reason, it’s probably best to remove pool toys and games you might normally play with to reduce any possible transmission.
- Disinfect Guest Areas: As a courtesy to your guests, give your outside common areas and indoor bathrooms a thorough cleaning and disinfecting before they arrive. Anything they might touch, be sure to sanitize it. Once they leave, cleaning these areas should be your first priority.
- Ask Guests to Wear Masks: If you’re going to be spending time out of the pool socializing, it’s important to wear masks around people outside of your household to reduce the risk of COVID spreading.
- Don’t Let Your Guests Overstay Their Welcome: A nice pool party could be a welcome respite from quarantine and isolation, but even if you’re following all the proper precautions, it’s best to keep your visits short and sweet.
The country is beginning to experiment with opening up and taking small steps to return to some version of normalcy, but it’s important to still be careful. Enjoy your summer by the pool, but make sure you’re doing it safely.
Need a Hand?
If this is your first summer caring for your pool on your own and you’re feeling overwhelmed, we can help. Contact AAA Pool Service today to learn more about our weekly maintenance and cleaning offerings for inground pools.