CINCINNATI — Pools in Ohio reopened Tuesday for the first time since March, and Brooke Wilson’s children were ready. They asked her Monday night to find one that would be open for them, and she spent the morning searching along with her sister-in-law, Ashley. Calls went unanswered. Websites didn’t list hours.
The end result: When Brooke, Ashley and their seven children arrived at Greenhills Swimming Pool Tuesday afternoon, the mothers were even more ready for a break than the kids.
The family had called ahead to reserve a three-hour swimming slot, per a new policy to enforce social distancing and lessen the risk of COVID-19 infection.
It was actually a nice change, Ashley Wilson said.
“When you have four kids, trying to get them to leave a pool, ever, is impossible,” said. “So having a limit on it can be like, ‘OK, we know from this time to this time.’”
All of the pool’s new policies were created with swimmers in mind, said pool owner Cary Belyea. His company, SwimSafe Pool Management, operates over 200 swimming pools in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky; about 75% remained closed by Tuesday, and the ones that opened looked different than they had in March.
“Things are going to be different,” he said. “We are all working together right now to figure out the best way. It is uncharted territory for us, so we don't know how things, some of these things, these new systems are going to work."
Only 98 people can be in the Greenhills pool at any given time, he said. Drinking fountains around the space have been removed or disabled, and the entire area will be vacated for cleaning every two hours. Families that want to swim will have to follow the Wilsons’ lead and reserve a window of time to visit.
“The whole key here is to reduce capacity to the point where there is enough room for people to swim and be on deck and maintain social distancing with ease,” he said.
It might have been less time than Ashley Wilson’s children would have liked, she admitted. They’ve already reserved a spot for Wednesday.