After months of being quarantined at home, the world is opening up again. That’s perfect timing for many, considering it’s hot outside, and when it’s hot out, there is nothing better than heading to the pool. If you have your own swimming pool, you’re probably considering yourself pretty lucky right now. But what if you don’t? Is it safe to use the community pool?
Can you get coronavirus from swimming pools?
According to the New York Times, the growing consensus among experts is that the possibility of catching the coronavirus outdoors is much lower than indoors. But it is not zero.
The latest research indicates that the water itself doesn’t pose a danger. “There’s nothing inherent about ocean water, or especially pool water, that is risky,” Dr. Ebb Lautenbach, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, told them. “The bug isn’t transmitted via a waterborne route. Chlorine and bromine that are in pools inactivate the virus and makes it even lower risk in terms of catching it from the water.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed in its recent guidelines for operating swimming pools during the coronavirus pandemic that, “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas.
So, the problem isn’t in the water. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe to run to your local community pool and enjoy pool time in large groups. Large group gatherings are still an issue to worry about and avoid.
The CDC has set out some recommendations to follow if you decide to head to your community pool this summer:
Keep your distance—Avoid group events, gatherings, or meetings both in and out of the water if social distancing of at least 6 feet between people who don’t live together cannot be maintained
Keep clean—Make sure to wash hands often and cover sneezes and coughs. It also helps to be aware of frequently touched surfaces at the pool, like door handles, handrails, lounge chairs, and tabletops.
Bring your own disinfectant—Especially now, community pools should be well-stocked with cleaning supplies and should have advanced procedures for keeping common areas disinfected. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Stock your swim bag with soap, hand sanitizer, and wipes so you can help everyone stay safe.
Wear a mask, when appropriate—The CDC encourages the use of cloth face coverings as feasible. Face coverings are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. That said, masks shouldn’t be worn in the water because they can make it hard to breathe.
Know when to stay home—Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
Don’t share objects—If you plan to bring accessories like balls, goggles, or pool noodles, be sure they’re not being shared with other people.