Unlike Lawrence, two Douglas County towns plan to open their outdoor swimming pools for the summer
photo by: Elvyn Jones
In contrast with the city of Lawrence, Baldwin City and Eudora are planning to open their municipal swimming pools this month with modifications designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Although the two cities are taking different approaches to opening their pools, officials in Baldwin City and Eudora said safety was the foremost planning consideration.
“We know everybody is itching to get out, but at the end of the day everything we have planned is for the overall good health of the people and families of Eudora,” said Eudora Parks and Recreation Department Director Sally Pennington. “We know with our square footage we can’t have more than 90 people at the pool at a time.”
Eudora will open its pool June 15, Pennington said. The pool will operate under rules, which she said could change, designed to allow social distancing.
The pool will be open daily with three two-hour shifts of 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Pennington said. Attendance at each session will be limited to 90 people so that social distancing can be maintained at the community’s relatively small pool.
“Everyone will get out and leave after the two hours,” she said. “There will be no lounge chairs, and people will not be allowed to bring in their own chairs.”
She also said the lazy river and climbing wall area will be roped off, due to how crowded those areas usually become.
Entry will be through a gate to the pool and no one is to enter the Community Center, Pennington said. People will leave the pool through a separate gate. Anyone leaving the pool before a two-hour session ends will not be allowed to re-enter during that session, Pennington said.
Those using the pool will need an individual or family season pool pass and no single-day pool passes will be issued to avoid the need for pool staff to handle money, she said.
“Everyone will log in and be given a wrist band,” she said. “We’ll have everyone’s name so we can track everyone if anything happens.”
Children 10 years of age or younger will have to be accompanied by an adult to gain entry into the pool, Pennington said. The age restriction was raised from 8 years of age because of the possible need to close the pool on short notice, she said.
The recreation department is looking to open the pool from noon to 1 p.m. in July for adult lap swimming and, if all goes well, evening rentals for pool parties, Pennington said. Hands on, close-contact activities like swimming lessons and swim team practices and competitions won’t happen this year, she said.
Baldwin City is taking a different approach, said Baldwin City Administrator Glenn Rodden. The pool will open June 29 for adult lap swimming and swim lessons are slated to start July 6, depending on the Baldwin City Recreation Commission’s ability to hire enough lifeguards and staff. he said. However, there is no plan to open the pool for general use, he said.
In a video posted on the Baldwin City government website, BCRC Executive Director Matt McClure said he was confident enough pool staff could be hired.