Plans to re-open

Shirley Pool is gearing up to re-open as soon as the government gives the go ahead, possibly on July 4th. The management team are confident that they can open to the pubic, even with social distancing, albeit with some major changes for customers.

“ The pools are looking fantastic just now and we are working hard to be ready when it is safe “ said Pool boss Luke Perry , “We have upgraded the plant room and installed the latest in Ultra violet cleaning. UV is fast and efficient – destroying bacteria, algae, and viruses within two seconds when passing through the chamber.”

Main Pool Ultra Violet chamber

It is widely accepted that swimming pools are one of the safest environments as the chemicals used to keep the water clean also attack the virus. According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of the pools. 

The CDC goes on to say that proper disinfection with chlorine should inactivate the virus. A related coronavirus that caused the SARS epidemic in 2003 was found to be inactivated by Ultra Violet Treatment and chlorine.

The newly installed Ultra Violet chamber for the small pool

“Our heavy duty pumps have been constantly circulating the water from the pools to the plant room throughout the lockdown.Once the pool water has passed through large filters it is sent to the UV chambers for sanitation” said Luke.

“Auto dosing systems monitor the levels of PH and Chlorine in the pool and drip feed the required doses. The water is then heated before being returned to the pools. At the moment the heaters are off, but we promise to bring the temperature back up in time!”

The pool is now working on government  recommendations and guidelines from the two governing bodies of swimming, Swim England and STA, to provide a safe environment for swimmers and parents.

“It looks like the current advise is that swimmers should arrive already in their costumes and take the most direct route possible to the water, avoiding the traditional changing methods”.

The pool has developed a one way system for children’s lessons, a dry change and a wet change that minimises contact between swimmers. Once in the pool, lessons have been restricted to just four per teacher. Daytime Parent and child customers will have exclusive use of the wet and dry areas, again restricted to four per class. Sealed boxes will be available for transfer to the wet change.

“The social distancing rules mean that we will have to limit the number of  children  we can teach each week, so existing customers will have to take priority at the moment”.

An online booking system has been introduced that means parents can arrange replacement lessons and even move class without contacting the reception. 

The swimming club and advanced stroke classes will continue from 6pm in 40 minute slots for 12 swimmers using the whole of the main 25m pool. 

Extra staff will be on hand in the changing areas to wipe down and sanitise touch points and handles.

With two pools and an unusually high level of shallow water, teaching space is not a problem. Two metre spacing can be maintained between the children during the lessons and the teacher can safely conduct the main pool stroke technique classes from the pool edge.

Playtime may need to be changed to an organised game such as treasure hunt or races.

The major change for customers will be the changing routines. The plan is to enter at a specified time into reception and the “male” changing rooms into 12 designated “dry change” areas. With costumes already donned, parents will take away clothes, dressing gowns or robes and send the children through to poolside, where a member of staff will ensure they arrive on time to the correct teaching station. After the lesson, swimmers will be sent in turn to the wet change area, the “ladies”, again in designated areas.

Children who are able to look after themselves will be able to take their clothes in a bag to a poolside dry area. Whenever possible, if children can safely enter the building, change and swim safely without parental supervision, it should be encouraged.

Parents can accompany pre school children to the poolside. Parent and child lessons will have exclusive use of the dry and wet changing areas and the male staff changing rooms can be used by fathers.

Adult lane swimming members will be able to attend with direct access to the poolside via reception.

During the pandemic, customers are asked to shower before and after swimming, at home. No showers will be available at the pool. Lockers will also be removed. Toilets will remain open.

In the meantime families are being warned to be careful if they visit the beach. Read more..