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Cincinnati Recreation Commission will open just seven of its 24 pools in COVID-19 summer

Lifeguard shortage blamed
Ziegler Park Pool in Over-the-Rhine
Posted at 2:22 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 22:37:01-04

CINCINNATI - Many kids and families who count on city swimming pools for summer fun are going to be disappointed.

The Cincinnati Recreation Commission will be able to open just seven of its 24 pools, CRC Director Daniel Betts announced Thursday at Mayor John Cranley's COVID-19 briefing.

Betts blamed a shortage of available lifeguards but added CRC is seeking more in hopes of eventually opening more pools.

He said this summer will look a little different at pools that are opening.

“In many cases we’re having to look at reducing our capacity at these facilities by nearly 50% and in some cases more than that," Betts said.

The pools that are opening were listed later Thursday on the CRC website, www.cincyrec.org. They are:

  • Dempsey
  • Dunham
  • Evanston
  • Hirsch
  • McKie
  • Oakley
  • Pleasant Ridge

Betts said city pools will require reservations and implement other "significant changes" in response to COVID-19. Betts said new pool procedures would be posted at www.cincyrec.org,

The CRC will open 17 of its usual 23 summer day camps at recreation centers on June 8, but with smaller groups, Betts said. They also are listed on the CRC website, with a map, as:

  • Bond Hill
  • Bush
  • Clifton
  • Corryville
  • Dunham
  • Evanston
  • Hirsch
  • Lincoln
  • Madisonville
  • McKie
  • Millvale
  • Mt. Washington
  • Oakley
  • Pleasant Ridge
  • Price Hill
  • Sayler Park
  • Winton Hills

Camp groups will have a ratio of one adult to nine children instead of 1:15 or 1:20, Betts said. As a result, some families who preregistered their children may not be guaranteed participation. Over the next few days, CRC will conduct a lottery for camps where enrollment exceeds capacity – Dunham, Oakley, Clifton and Mt. Washington.

CRC has posted more information here about camps, the cost and how to register.

All CRC ballfields will open May 26.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati Parks will operate a modified number of nature camps from June 8 to July 31, Director Kara Kish announced. The camps will be operated under industry best practices to ensure safety, according to the Parks website.

"We will not offer more camps than we are able to safely operate. Some camps have, unfortunately, been suspended due to social distancing and issues with camper and staff safety, including all preschool camps," the Parks website says. "To ensure camper safety, we are reducing the number of campers in each camp. We are reviewing registrations to determine demand and whether gaps exist."

Reservations were taken over the winter and cancellations are being accepted through Friday.

RELATED: How other summer day camps are affected by COVID-19.

Cranley touted Cincinnati Parks for being ranked fifth best among the country's 100 most populated cities by The Trust for Public Land. Cincinnati Parks had been ranked eighth.

Health Commissioner Melba Moore reported five more COVID-19 deaths, raising the city total to 43. There have been 72 new cases since Tuesday's briefing for a total of 952.

SEE the city’s latest COVID-19 numbers.