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Pool reopenings still confuse… here’s clarification

This may be National Water Safety Month, but there’s still confusion over whether community pools can reopen…or not.

The county allowed community pools and outdoor tennis and racquet facilities under CDC guidelines as of April 29, after state stay-at-home orders shut them down.

But Boca Raton’s two city public pools, Meadows Park and the Swim Center, remain closed. And whether private communities can reopen with pandemic precautions center around staffing at the discretion of homeowner and condo associations.

“I’ve had calls. Some smaller communities have trouble being in compliance,” said Emily Gentile, president of the 63 condominiums in the Beach Condo Association of Boca Raton and Highland Beach.

Residents are contacting county commissioners, too. Inquires are asking for clarification on restrictions, said Meaghan White, senior administrative assistant to Commissioner Mary Lou Berger. “Because these areas are privately owned, the responsibility falls on the community management to make sure their facilities are compliant. These restrictions are fluid and ever changing.”

Vice Mayor Bob Weinroth’s office is responding with a pool monitoring clarification from the county: “It is acceptable for staff or management to delegate monitoring and compliance responsibilities to board members and community volunteers if they believe the pool can be operated safely and in compliance with the Executive Order.  If these accommodations are unsuccessful, the pool should be closed until alternate monitoring arrangements are put in place.”

“We are aware that some associations may not have staff present at their pools… throughout the day. The association that is responsible for the pool needs to accept responsibility to ensure that the pool and pool area are used responsibly under the conditions of the order,” according to the county via Weinroth’s office.

Here’s the county’s CDC pool guidelines:

  • Practice social or physical distancing
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  • Locker room and shower facilities remain closed. Restrooms cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day.
  • Soap and water or hand sanitizer and/or disinfectant wipes provided in each restroom.
  • Pool deck seating or lounging restricted to ensure social distancing in accordance with CDC Guidelines.
  • One or more facility staff or management must be present at each facility location to monitor and ensure compliance with restrictions within this order.

By Marci Shatzman

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