Although Governor Mike DeWine’s plan to “RestartOhio” in phases now allows public and club pools to reopen as of May 26, the Jeffersonville pool will remain closed for the season.
According to village officials, the situation was discussed during a recent special meeting, and the only way to reopen is if pools are being regulated by the local heath department and follow guidelines.
It’s explained on www.coronavirus.ohio.gov that, “according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water. To ensure that these pools operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine’s Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for these facilities to follow.”
According to Jeffersonville Mayor Bob Kinzer, during the meeting, village officials discussed the expectation that some of the guidelines the state puts into effect for pools will come from the CDC recommendations or to be in line with previously placed requirements that will become costly, such as installing barriers.
One of the common requirements so far has included training staff members in COVID-19 protocols, according to Jeffersonville Village Administrator Bryan Riley. This would mean more staff members would have to be hired other than the required life guards which are already difficult to hire at this time, as previously reported.
“Life guards have enough responsibility just watching the kids swim,” explained Kinzer. “Then the six-foot distancing is going to be a must. We talked (in the special meeting) about the sanitizing. That’s really going to be all day — constant.”
Guidelines will have to be considered and followed for the 2021 swim season and, according to Kinzer, the operation of the concession stand will also need to be evaluated.
Along with the pool, the Jeffersonville park, which contains the athletic field, will remain closed, according to village officials. In part, this is due to the village not having the funding to keep staff at the park for monitoring and sanitizing purposes.
“We usually have over about 400 kids participating in softball, baseball, and T-ball, and it’s very very upsetting for us — council, playground committee to have to close this,” said village council members and Parks and Recreation Committee member Sue Burnside. “It breaks our hearts. The kids — they don’t know what we’re doing, but we say, ‘hey, we gotta protect ya.’”
“Maybe later on this year, if they come out with new guidelines on the park, we can just open the part itself but, as of now, it remains closed,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Bob Kinzer.
“Right now, our little village is struggling,” said Burnside. “We’ve lost a main business, we’ve had to close our park and our pool. That’s our livelihood. But we’ll be back, and we’ll be back stronger.”
The business Burnside was referring to is Stage Stores, Distribution Centers located in Jeffersonville which recently sent out an email to employees explaining it would not be reopening.
For more information about the Jeffersonville pool, please see previously published article, “J’ville pool won’t open this season.” For requirements for aquatic facilities operators (local and public pools and aquatic centers), please see www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Pools-Aquatic-Centers.pdf.