'Very fortunate’: Concord neighborhood pool reopens in time for Memorial Day

CONCORD, N.C. — You may have wanted to spend the long Memorial Day weekend at your neighborhood pool, but most in the Charlotte are remained closed as homeowner associations work to figure out how to reopen pools with safe social distancing guidelines.

While many pools across the area have not reopened, Channel 9 found an HOA in Concord that has, and got a look at how they are keeping families safe by the water.

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The Oak Park Neighborhood HOA made a lot of changes for families.

“You can see he’s enjoying that,” said resident Donna Kenney, speaking about her son. “He’s been waiting on this morning. That's why we got up here early.”

Kenney's neighborhood pool is one of only a few that have reopened in our area. On Friday, Channel 9 reporter Gina Esposito learned many pools were still making changes and needed lifeguards.

“I think we really, at the end of the day, felt like, ‘Hey, we can kind of lead here,’” said Dennis Parker, the president of the Oak Park HOA.

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He told Channel 9 they worked tirelessly to make safety changes so families at Oak Park could enjoy the pool. They hung a capacity sign at the pool entrance with rules on how many people can be at and in the pool.

“I think the most I ever counted was 12 in the pool, and I saw the lifeguards checking,” Parker said. “So, I was glad to see that. It means they are aware of the count as well.”

To keep things clean the HOA added sanitization stations and asked residents to wipe off pool chairs before and after use. They also laminated signs around the pool area to help people social distance.

“So, the idea was that if a single person came in and they wanted some distance, they could put this down and give them distance,” Parker explained. “And if a family came in they could pick it up and move it over, and they could sit together.”

All of the changes were implemented so families, like the Kenneys, could kick off their summer.

“We feel very, very fortunate,” she said.

CDC releases swimming pool reopening guidelines

The Centers For Disease Control has issued some guidelines for anyone thinking of going to the pool as states relax restrictions.

It states that people should wear face coverings when possible out of the water.

The same personal hygiene etiquette is encouraged, including handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes, as well as cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and shared objects. Limiting the number of people in common areas is also recommended to maintain social distance.

CDC says lifeguards should only be focused on the pool, not worrying about whether people are wearing masks.

Can coronavirus spread in swimming pools?

Pools reopening raised the question -- can coronavirus be transmitted in pools?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can spread in a pool and chlorine in standard pools would be enough to inactivate the virus.

But that doesn’t mean everyone who wants to jump in a pool will be allowed to.

Public pools in South Carolina are still required to follow state guidelines, which means public pools can only allow 20% of normal occupancy. Pools will also be required to clean commonly used surfaces more frequently and should consider a phased approach or reservations to limit contact between people

Remember, as we’ve reported, the virus is spread through droplets when people are in close physical contact so it’s still going to be important to practice social distancing and good hygiene even in the swimming pool.

In North Carolina, public pools could open with restrictions during Phase 2 if everything goes well. However, at this time, the state has not put out any guidelines