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'It's such a special place for Austinites' | Barton Springs Pool reopens after nearly 3 months

The City of Austin closed the pool on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin reopened Barton Springs Pool on Tuesday after closing it in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coincidentally, Tuesday was the hottest day of the year so far in Austin, sending people like Dan Stafford and his daughter, Nicole, in search of cool water.

RELATED: Barton Springs Pool reopens by reservation only

"We didn't know this was the first day that they had opened. We just kind of felt like feeling refreshed," Nicole Stafford said.

Taking a dip at the pool will look a little differently – at least for now.

Instead of walking through the entrance west of the bathrooms, you'll need to stand in line by the entrance east of the bathrooms. That's where a staff member will take your temperature and ask you some screening questions, like whether you've traveled abroad recently.

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A staff member will then ask you whether you've made a reservation online before giving you a wristband and allowing you in. 

A spokesperson with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department said there are 450 slots available every two hours. The pool is also accepting walk-ins as long as there are still available slots in a specific two-hour period. 

If you didn't make a reservation online – and they have spots available – they'll ask you for your name and number to contact you if a guest tests positive for COVID-19 and you were exposed.

Pattrik Perez KVUE is live at Barton Springs Pool, which is open for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. And in case you can’t tell, it’s really hot outside! 🥵

Posted by KVUE on Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Rosemary Barilla and her son, Ezra – who are no strangers to the pool – told KVUE they're thankful the City is being careful.

"It's such a special place for Austinites, especially in the heat," Rosemary Barilla said. "It's a good choice to make people feel safe, feel safe coming in and enjoying the space with others."

The City is requiring people to keep their masks on when they're not swimming. The staff is also cleaning the facility before the end of each two-hour reservation window.

These are small but important changes to give Austinites some sense of normalcy during a time that's anything but normal.

"Do what it requires. Keep the distance. But get out there," Dan Stafford said.

Barton Springs Pool is currently closed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It's free to get in, and you can make your reservation here. Reservations for Friday, June 12, are already full, according to the City's website.

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