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Swimming pools can reopen in Phase 2, but requirements prove challenging

(Update: Adding video, comments from HOA management group, Redmond pool reopens in limited fashion)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Swimming pools are allowed to reopen in Phase 2 of Gov. Kate Brown’s reopening plan. Even so, Central Oregon pool operators and property managers say they have to meet some challenging requirements in order to reopen.

The reopening guidelines for pools require on-site staff posted at entry/exit points, contract trace logs, regular sanitizing of high-touch areas and capacity limitations. 

Julie Brown, spokeswoman for the Bend Park and Recreation District, said Monday the district has not yet decided on a date for reopening the swimming pool at Juniper Swim and Fitness Center.

She said the district is still in the process of planning for the pool reopening, which would require them to hire more staff, and will release details next week. The rest of the facility reopened Monday, with rules in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Katie Anderson is the CEO of Aperion Management Group in Bend, which manages homeowners associations for about 60 communities around Central Oregon. She said all of the expectations asked of swimming pools will be difficult, although not impossible, for an HOA to meet.

"There’s not somebody sitting at the gate that can collect contact tracing regulations," Anderson said. "There's not somebody here that can wipe down all the surfaces in a regular accordance, per the governor's guidelines, or enforce social distancing."

She said the guidelines did not specify distinctions between public pools and neighborhood community pools.

"Other states did offer those distinctions in community settings, but in the governor's regulations, most of the language is 'required to,'" Anderson said. "Those are hard to try and find a balance to what might work between a publicly-staffed pool vs. a community pool with no staff."

The Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center (SHARC) has also not yet decided on a reopening date for its indoor pool or aquatic park.

The Cascade Swim Center in Redmond reopened Monday, but with limited hours and by reservation only. It's only allowing lap swimming and water walking, with one person per lane.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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