Swimming pools can reopen but with very limited capacity

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and right now, one of the best ways to beat the heat isn’t available.

Shelby County Health Department officials said the latest directive allows for recreational pools to reopen with very limited capacity.

Recreational swimming pools in Memphis remain chained up and drained.

“We’ll get that good heat and humidity and then everybody is going to what to get into the pool and they should be able to!” said Memphis Pool Supply President Mark Reed.

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Shelby County Health Department officials say pools can reopen at 25 percent capacity.

Even the CDC says there isn’t any evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through water in pools, hot tubs, or water play areas.

But Thursday health department officials said their concern isn’t about the pool water.

“Our concern as it relates to pools is the gathering that happens outside of pools,” said Shelby County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph.

FOX13 talked with Mark Reed, the President of Memphis Pool Supply, about what social distancing could look like at swimming pools.

“Out of the pool, I think it’s certainly easy to do. You know you can mark out on the deck, just like what we do in our stores, you know a safe distance in the pool. You could really do the same thing with lifeguards and that kind of thing at public pools, watching and keeping people apart from each other,” he said.

Reed said he believes community pools could open very soon as long as the city has a plan.

“Do they have the staff levels available?” he asked. “You know sanitation is certainly a question inside the pool houses, in the bath areas, restrooms that kind of thing, even the hard surfaces outside with the ladders and handrails. So it’s doable.”

The City of Memphis hasn’t stated when pools will reopen.

But Reed said his store has been busy because people with private, residential pools have been getting them ready much earlier.

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