CDC provides COVID-related guidance for going to the pool this summer

Health officials say face coverings should be worn outside pools.

May 20, 2020, 12:40 PM

If you're heading to the pool this summer, you'll have to bring your swim cap, goggles, towel -- and face covering.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new coronavirus-related guidance for swimmers and employees at the country's pools as they reopen to crowds this summer. Several states have already reopened their public and private pools, including Georgia and Florida, and the agency said pool administrators should stick to several precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

CDC Recommendations for Public Pool Use
ABC News

Pool users and staff are encouraged to wear face coverings if they are outside the water. Swimmers are encouraged not to have them on when they are in the water according to the CDC.

"Cloth face coverings can be difficult to breathe through when they're wet," the agency said in its recommendation.

An empty pool is viewed at an apartment complex awaiting reopening as Memorial Day approaches amid the coronavirus pandemic, May 14, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC dissuaded group gatherings in and out of the water, especially if six feet distancing cannot be enforced. The agency recommended staggered pickup and drop-off times if planned events take place, and swimmers stay six feet apart from anyone who they don't live with.

Lifeguards should not enforce social distancing and other COVID precautions, according to the CDC and advised that other staff members serve those roles.

Cico Pool sits empty, May 17, 2020, in Manhattan, Kansasm as all public pools across the state have closed for the remainder of summer.
Luke Townsend/Zuma Press

The CDC said that pool staff should do everything they can to ensure pool-goers stick to the health precautions, including more signage, highlighted visual cues on the deck and in the pool, rearranged furniture and frequent announcements. The agency added that it should encourage pool-goers to avoid sharing items, such as toys and towels, and all communal areas should be frequently cleaned.

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