As heat wave hits, pools across Illinois can reopen

Chronicle Media

State health officials are allowing swimming pools, water parks, splashpads, and beaches to open at half capacity under Phase 4, just in time for Fourth of July. (Photo courtesy of Edwardsville Glen Carbon Pool)

Under Phase 4 of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Restore Illinois plan, swimming facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) can open at a maximum of 50 percent of capacity.  This includes swimming pools, water parks, splashpads, and beaches.

“There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the water in pools and water playgrounds,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “However, the virus can still spread between people while in the pool, playing at a water park, or in a spa.  Make sure to keep your distance from other people, especially if waiting in line or sitting around the pool.”

Swimming facilities are required to have plans that address maintaining physical distance for areas where people line up to use a water slide, lazy river, or other water features.  This can include putting up signs, having attendants monitor people, or using markings.

The plan must also address sanitization of all equipment, such as rafts, tubes, and lounge chairs.  These must be sanitized between each use.

Operators should limit group sizes to no more than 50 people. Operators, employees, and customers should wear face coverings when not swimming or using other water features. Exceptions can be made for children younger than two years or people with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a face covering.

Pools and water parks should require temperature checks for employees and customers when entering the facility, as well as in-person screenings to verify individuals do not have symptoms of COVID-19.