What is summer without a swimming pool? That’s a common question, especially amid a pandemic – so is it safe to swim?
“Everyone is excited to get out in the water,” said Dr. Laura Waters with Mercy Clinic Pediatrics – HealthTracks in Springfield, Missouri. “There has not been any evidence to show that coronavirus can be spread through recreational waters such as the pool or the lake.”
Disinfectants used to clean water, like chlorine and bromine, will kill the virus that causes COVID-19. However, when you’re near the pool and congregating on the deck or common area, it’s important to practice social distancing and masking.
“Do not wear masks in the water because as soon as they get wet your children can’t breathe through them,” Dr. Waters said.
It’s a good idea to check with your local health department, which will likely be working with recreation managers to make decisions about whether to open pools, lakes and beaches for the public.
According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proper operation of aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus.
While there is ongoing community spread of the virus, it is important for individuals, as well as operators of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds (for example, at hotels or apartment complexes or owned by communities) to take steps to ensure health and safety:
- Everyone should follow state, local, territorial or tribal guidance that might determine when and how public pools, hot tubs or water playgrounds may operate and might include CDC considerations.
- Individuals should continue to protect themselves and others at public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds, both in and out of the water – for example, by staying at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with and wearing cloth face covers when not in the water.
- In addition to ensuring water quality and safety, operators of public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds should follow guidance on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.