Can swimming pools reopen? (Added May 14)

On May 12, 2020, Governor Kemp issued Executive Order, “Reviving a Healthy Georgia,” which allows public swimming pools to be reopened. The Georgia Department of Public Health and local county health departments regulate public swimming pools in Georgia, including the following:

  1. Public pools regulated under Title 31, Chapter 45 of the Georgia Code and Chapter 511-3-5 of the Rules of the Department of Public Health (including municipal, school, hotel, and motel pools, any pool to which access is granted in exchange for payment of a daily fee, special purpose pools, spas, and recreational water parks);

  2. Pools operating under County Ordinances, including subdivision, apartment and country club pools; and

  3. Public pools as defined in the State’s mandatory International Swimming Pool and Spa Code.

Under the Governor’s Order, recreational water parks that operate single waterslides and similar non-mechanical attractions at municipal, county, state, or community-operated pools will be allowed to reopen, consistent with Safety Fire Commissioner Rule 120-3-27-.43. However, recreational water parks that are operators of water amusement rides as defined in Code section 25-15-51(1) and Safety Fire Commissioner Rule 120-3-27-.02(54) must remain closed.

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 at public swimming pools, the Department has developed mitigation measures contained in a seven-page guidance document.

These mitigation measures are based on Executive Order and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on operating and managing public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds during the pandemic.

Among the measures strongly recommended for all operators of public swimming pools:

  • Employ cleaning and disinfection measures to reduce patron exposure.
  • Maintain water quality parameters to ensure water sanitation.
  • Modify the layout of the facility to promote social distancing.
  • Introduce physical barriers and guides to prohibit gathering.
  • Monitor communal or shared spaces for social distancing.
  • Stagger use of communal spaces (for example, in the water or breakroom), if possible, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly (based on daily usage but at least once during hours of operation and before opening).Clean and disinfect shared objects each time they are used.
  • Seek approval of alterations or modification of the aquatic features.
  • Establish contacts for patrons and staff members.

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