By Tim Gardner
The Avery County Parks and Recreation Department plans to open its community pool, “The Dive-In,” on June 12.
As per Phase 2 of the State of North Carolina’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) guideline restrictions, the pool will be open at limited capacity of no more than 50 people, with pool use restricted only to those who place advanced reservations for one of the two sessions in which the pool will be available, either from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. time slot or from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Pool parties may also be reserved in advance, with only a 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. time session available, according to Brandon Campbell, Avery Parks & Recreation’s Program Director.
To reserve space during a session at the Dive-In or to reserve a day for a pool party, call (828) 737-0126.
“We’re going to have two sessions each day by reservation only, with 50-plus people in each session,” Campbell said. “We’ll still have our nightly pool parties available for a two-hour time slot. We had pool parties during the day last year, but because of COVID-19, we’re not allowed to do that at this time.”
Campbell detailed various measures that he and his staff are taking to ensure the sanitation of the pool complex.
“We’ll have hand sanitizer stations and signage about social spacing, adhering to all of those things per COVID-19 guidelines,” he shared. “Anyone wishing to attend the pool must do so by reservation only. The pool staff members are already accepting reservations for the opening of the pool. It’s going to be restricted and regimented concerning social interaction at the pool.”
Campbell described additional initiatives the Parks & Recreation and Dive-In staffs are taking to assure the public of a safe environment at the pool during the current pandemic.
“We’re also going to be checking the temperatures of people coming to the pool, and parents will be required to sign a basic COVID-19 waiver of liability for their children and themselves,” he noted. “We have the touchless thermometers to be able to measure temperatures by the forehead and make sure than no one is at the pool with a fever. We’re also limiting areas such as restroom facilities to 50-percent capacity and sanitizing restrooms after each use. We want to be extra careful and we will be.
“All staff members will be wearing masks, including our lifeguards on the stands, except when they sit in their seats. Each individual lifeguard will have his or her own CPR mask attached to their waist belt, where last year we had two or three masks for the entire facility that were located in first aid kits. If we have any COVID case that gets traced back to the pool, we would be forced to shut it down immediately by health officials.”
These procedures adopted by the Avery Parks & Recreation Department have been approved and in keeping with recommendations by both the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Toe River Health District, Campbell added.