AUSTIN, Texas — While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced that public swimming pools may reopen Friday, May 8, under certain restrictions, many Central Texas cities are not reopening their pools.
It's important to note that many city pools typically do not open to the public until Memorial Day.
On Thursday, Mike Bernoski, the owner of Prime Pool Service, and his crew cleaned the Covered Bridge neighborhood pool in southwest Austin, getting it ready to reopen May 8.
"We've been in contact with all of our commercial customers who are anxious, the communities are anxious to open up the pools," said Mike Bernoski.
He said out of the 125 commercial pools he services, about half will reopen at 25% capacity on May 8.
"Most of the commercial pools that we deal with that are HOA," said Bernoski. "These aren't monitored pools so they're relying on some level of personal responsibility from the individual homeowners."
Bernoski said the HOAs he has worked with have put up signs as reminders, separated tables and will keep an eye on the cameras that monitor the area.
Under Abbott's order, which gives guidance on which businesses can reopen May 8, public pools may only open if permitted by the local government. Indoor swimming pools may operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the swimming pool facility and outdoor swimming pools may operate up to 25% of the normal operating limits as determined by the swimming pool operator.
Here's a growing list of Central Texas cities that have confirmed with KVUE they are not reopening their pools on May 8:
- Cedar Park
- Round Rock
- San Marcos
The City of Austin has an interactive map on its website which shows the hours of operation for public pools.
Here are the guidelines and safety protocols that must be followed according to the governor's website:
- Maintain at least six feet separation from others not within the individual’s group at the park, beach, river, or lake. The individual’s group may not exceed the greater of the individual’s household or up to five individuals who go to the park, beach, river, or lake together. If such distancing is not feasible, other measures such as face-covering, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, and sanitation should be rigorously practiced.
- Self-screen before going to a park, beach, or other public open space for any of the following new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
Known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19
Wash or disinfect hands after any interaction with employees, other customers, or items in the park, beach, river or lake.
Consistent with the actions taken by many individuals across the state, consider wearing cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth) at a park, beach, river, or lake when within six feet of another person who is not a member of the individual’s group. The individual’s group may not exceed the greater of the individual’s household or up to five individuals who arrived at the park, beach, river, or lake together. If available, individuals should consider wearing non-medical grade face masks. Face coverings may not be feasible while in the water.
Clean and sanitize recreational water equipment before and after use.
Special consideration for river rafting and similar activities:
Any vehicle used to transport individuals between places along the river must be cleaned and disinfected between uses.
If such a vehicle is a bus, alternate rows should be used.
Individuals should not sit within six feet of any other person not with the individual’s group.
Individuals should sanitize hands before getting onto such a vehicle.
Face coverings are strongly recommended while on the vehicle.
Individuals aged 65 or older are at a higher risk of COVID-19. To the extent possible, avoid contact within six feet with individuals aged 65 and older. Individuals aged 65 and older should stay at home as much as possible.
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