Swimmers in England have been told what they can and can’t do once pools reopen when coronavirus lockdown eases further.
Facilities were forced to close in March alongside gyms and other public spaces as strict measures were introduced to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The government doesn’t plan on reopening leisure facilities such as swimming pools until 4 July at the earliest, as a top scientist warned it will be “very surprising” if there isn’t a second coronavirus spike.
#ICYMI - if you're looking for some late reading check out our Returning to the Pool guidance we published today!— Swim England (@Swim_England) June 15, 2020
Developed following lengthy consultation with @PHE_uk, @Sport_England, leisure operators, home country partners and a panel of representatives.
However, Swim England, the national governing body for swimming, has issued a series of guidelines in preparation for pools reopening their doors.
Swimmers have been warned they will need to get used to a “new normal” when they return to the water.
What swimmers should do
Pools are being encouraged to only offer sessions that can be booked in advance and apply one-way systems poolside to help keep swimmers apart.
Swim England recommends arriving with a swimming costume under clothes and showering at home to reduce the amount of time spent in changing rooms.
Swimmers should shower before leaving home and when they get back from the pool.
Once they have finished swimming, users should leave the venue as soon as possible.
Swimmers should bring hand sanitiser with them to the pool, Swim England said, but they should also use the venue’s hand sanitiser and wash stations where available.
Before pushing off at each turn in the pool, swimmers should check to see if anyone faster is approaching.
Swimmers should stay hydrated by bringing their own pre-filled water bottle to the poolside.
What swimmers should NOT do
Swimmers have been told not to go to the pool if they are showing any COVID-19 symptoms such as high temperature, cough, difficulty breathing or loss of taste or smell.
When in the pool, users should not make physical contact with other swimmers.
People will be asked to avoid wide strokes such as the butterfly at busy times.
They have also been told not to overtake other pool users in order to maintain social distancing in the water.
What did Swim England say?
Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson said: “When pools reopen it will not be a case of business as usual and we know that things will have to be different.
“However, if we are to play our part in protecting the NHS from another wave of COVID-19 admissions it is important we follow the latest guidance and adjust to the new normal.”
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When will swimming pools reopen?
Pools will not reopen until 4 July at the earliest, but Swim England said some facilities may not be ready when they are given the go-ahead by the government.
Nickerson said: “While the guidance contains vital information on how to reopen facilities, unfortunately it doesn’t include the key date on when pools can open.
“We will continue to lobby the government for a reopening date but, ultimately, we have to be guided by them on this.”
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