KESQ: Department of Environmental Health releases new guidelines for community pools
By: Jesus Reyes
The Riverside County Department of Environmental Health released new guidelines for pools at apartment complexes and HOAs. The guidelines change the county’s initial one-person per pool policy to allow more people to share a pool.
The new guidelines do not specify a limit on swimmers but does allow members from the same household are allowed to swim together.
Large groups/pool parties are still not allowed. Officials say that six feet separation is required and swimmers should limit themselves to lanes
The new guidelines were given to managers, HOAs, and residents at communities. Public pools remain closed.
The guidelines were developed by the Department of Environmental Health with input from Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser. It currently only applies to pools and spas at apartment complexes and those operated by homeowners’ associations.
Health officials say these are guidelines and not requirements for community pool operators.
Community Pool Guidance – COVID-19
We wish to thank and commend the many property managers and homeowners associations (HOAs) that have closed pools, spas, and barbeque areas in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect
residents. These guidelines are being provided so that managers, HOAs, and residents can make responsible decisions for the potential use of community pools and spas. If a property management company or HOA decides to open the pool, it is recommended to do the following:
CREATE A DISINFECTION PLAN
• Create a written disinfection plan that identifies frequently touched surfaces, a schedule, and designated
person to complete disinfection tasks
• Use an EPA approved disinfectant on commonly touched surfaces, including but not limited to:
o Pool Area – gate, latch, tables, chairs, drinking fountain, pool handrails, and countertops
o Shared Restroom – door handles, light switches, faucets, latches, and dispensers
• Post signage reminding residents to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, cover coughs and
sneezes, and to avoid the pool area if they are experiencing symptoms of illness including a fever of
100°F or above, sore throat, runny nose, chills, not feeling well, sneezing, coughing, abdominal pain, or
IMPLEMENT PHYSICAL DISTANCING PROTOCOLS AND HAND HYGIENE RECOMMENDATIONS
• Six feet separation is required, and swimmers should limit themselves to lanes
• No large groups or pool parties allowed. Families are permitted from the same household
• Implement scheduled time slots for use on the busiest days to control the flow of users
• Close the spa or limit use to 1 person or household at a time (post signage)
• Lounge chairs and/or tables should be properly distanced. If they cannot be distanced, they should be
secured and stored
• Remind residents to wear a cloth face covering when traveling through common areas of the property
where it may not be possible to maintain physical distancing, including to and from the pool, barbeque
area, and shared restrooms
• Provide, or ask that residents bring hand sanitizer
• Frequently check shared restrooms to ensure they are stocked with hand soap and paper towels Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential to protecting human health during disease outbreaks.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and spas; however, maintaining good chlorine levels in our community pools may help to prevent its spread.