By Woodard, Dale on August 7, 2020.
With the mercury rising above 30 degrees consistently over the past week, local residents have been looking for a place to cool off.
Since reopening July 19 after COVID-19 closures, Henderson Pool has been a popular option.
“It’s been steady,” said Brad Pack, general manager for Recreation Excellence with the City of Lethbridge. “We pretty much hit our maximum every day, which isn’t much when you consider Henderson’s size. Everything has to be under 100 people. So we’re hitting that pretty steadily and things are going along smoothly. We have all of our COVID processes in place to keep everybody safe and it seems to be working well.
“There is 100 (person) maximum, which includes the staff on the deck. So I think our capacity is set somewhere around 90 right now.”
Pack said Henderson Pool has a dedicated COVID person on the pool deck who makes sure families and cohort groups socially distance from other families and other cohort groups.
“Then we have the markers, on the water slide tower and things like that, so you’re not standing step-to-step. You have six feet of distancing in between. So they’re spread out on the water tower waiting for the slides,” said Pack. “Then everybody spreads out and finds their own patch of grass six feet away from each other. There is a lot of space there for 90 people, so it’s actually going relatively well.”
That has translated into an environment where the swimmers feel safe.
“People have been great,” said Pack. “The customers have been fantastic and they’ve commented they feel really safe to come there. It’s working well that way.”
Henderson Pool runs four separate swims per day, said Pack.
“We have an hour-and-a-half (session) starting at noon and then at 1:30 p.m. we send everybody out and we have a half hour where we clean and sanitize and then we bring the next group in and do another hour-and-a-half. We do that four times throughout the day.”
The last swimming time slot goes from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Swimmers must pre-book their time through the online software, said Pack.
“That has been a little bit of a challenge. We’ve been working with our software company and with the City to streamline that. I think people are starting to get the hang of it now. So it’s starting to smooth out that way.”
Times can be booked at aquatics.lethbridge.ca and includes hours of operation, programming, what to expect, and admission.
A COVID-19 screening process takes place and swimmers must be prepared to answer questions before entering and fill out a questionnaire form.
Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a responsible person 14 years of age or older and that person must be able to answer any COVID questions.
Swimmers must come wearing their bathing suits due to no access to the change rooms. It is also highly recommended not to bring valuables to the pool.
No outside food will be permitted – including coolers. Only sealed drinks and empty, reusable water bottles will be permitted.
In between the swimming sessions, the facility is cleaned before the next one.
“The pool itself is always chlorinated and filtered,” said Pack. “So we don’t really have to do much with the pool water. But we go around and sanitize as many touch points – door handles, counters and the amenities such as the climbing wall – we’ll sanitize it between uses.”
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