What You Need to Know About Swimming During a Pandemic

It may seem like it is the 13th week of March, but according to the calendar, it is almost a weekend on Memorial Day – the unofficial start of summer. Usually this is the time when we get together and head to the newly opened beach or picnic on the terrace surrounding the pool in the backyard of a friend, but now is COVID-19 summer and things are different. If you have questions about whether you can (or should) swim in pools, beaches or other bodies of water, you are not alone: ​​we are all figuring out how we go during this pandemic.

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted to humans through water in swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, or water playgrounds, this definitely does not mean that you are allowed to dive. no care: all the usual precautions, including physical distancing, are still very relevant.

“In my opinion, the pool water, fresh water in a lake or river or sea water would be extremely low risk of transmission, even without dilution (which would further reduce the risk),” – he told the New York Times Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia university. York Times . “Probably the biggest risk for summer water activities is crowding – crowded changing rooms by the pool, pier or beach, especially when combined with limited physical distance or extended proximity to other people. The most concentrated sources of the virus in such an environment will be the people hanging out by the pool, not the pool itself. “

In other words, keep a safe distance from people, whether you are on land or in water. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

Pools

As the CDC points out , “Correct operation, maintenance and disinfection (chlorine or bromine) of swimming pools should kill COVID-19.” But again, the problem is not in the water itself, but in how close you get to other people. The CDC still recommends keeping a minimum of six feet between yourself and others (both in and out of the water) and avoiding groups of more than 10 people. And, of course, if you are not feeling well, do not go to the pool (or anywhere else).

With regard to public pools, the CDC says local authorities should determine if they open, when and how. For example, some Florida parks only allow one swimmer per lane to enter public pools. Local authorities must also post highly visible handwashing signs and maintain safe distances, and perform vigorous cleaning of all pool facilities.

And yes, masks should be worn when you are not in the pool, in places like bathrooms and changing rooms. They are especially important in locations where it is especially difficult to maintain a physical distance of six feet. The CDC advises against wearing face masks or other covers in water because they can be difficult to breathe through when wet.

Beaches and other natural bodies of water

Again, the CDC grants local authorities the power to dictate when beaches, parks, and other bathing areas (such as lakes, rivers, streams, etc.) open. Practicing physical distancing will also be key here, rather than gathering in groups of more than 10 people.

In different states, the situation develops in different ways. State beaches in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will restrict capacity to 50 percent and exclude any contact activity such as beach volleyball. (However, New York City beaches will remain closed.) Beaches have also begun to open in Massachusetts (although car parks are still closed), Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, California, Maine, Maryland, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

If you are planning to hit the sand this weekend (or at any point in the near future), it is best to check with your state or local government to not only find out if the beaches are open, but also check the new rules. on-site shelter containers, activities and face masks. For example, in Los Angeles County, where beaches have been open since May 13, face masks are always required unless you are actually in the water.

And just because public beaches are open doesn’t mean you should go. In fact, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe is urging residents not to go to beaches, even if they are technically open. Happy pandemic holiday.

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