As increasingly heavier restrictions are issued throughout the country in an attempt slow the spread of the COVID–19 coronavirus, more and more questions arise about what is safe and what is not. With so many people being asked to stay at home, the role of public swimming pools to provide a place to exercise is more important than ever. But is it safe to operate a pool during the outbreak and what additional measures should you put in place to protect your staff and visitors?
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) says there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID–19 can be spread to humans through the use of pool and hot tubs. The agency suggests that the virus can be removed or inactivated through proper pool maintenance and operation. Monitoring chlorine and bromine to within normal levels is enough to provide a safe swimming environment; adding additional disinfection is not required or recommended.
However, if swimmers don’t shower before getting into pools, free chlorine (the form of chlorine that kills germs) combines with bodily secretions, dirt, and personal care products. The result is less free chlorine to kill germs, so more unwanted chemical compounds are produced.
But while the pool itself is at present considered to be safe, there are still significant risks of being exposed to the virus. Transmission can occur from elsewhere in the facility, either from person to person or from common touch points such as door handles. Pool operators are encouraged to implement public health policies that are designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. These include standard measures such as maintaining social distancing, washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, and avoiding anyone who is feeling unwell. In addition, IHRSA suggests pool operators pay particular attention to hygiene standards in toilets, changing areas and showers.
IHRSA adds that given that the virus is a new one, experts cannot say with absolute certainty that pools will be safe. However, most authorities believe that pool waters that are adequately disinfected should not spread the disease. A bigger risk will be the face-to-face interaction between individual users of the pools and spas.
As you will know by now, RenoSys products including our PVC pool membrane and RecDeck are designed to be fully compatible with pool chemicals. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about maintaining a RenoSys product during this time, do not hesitate to reach out to our product support team.