Jersey Shore Senator says “we don’t need all these restrictions” at community pools
Who wants to go for a swim?!
With current temperatures maybe not, but it'll be something you will want to do by Memorial Day weekend.
As of May 19, indoor and outdoor community pools can reopen in New Jersey but there's some rules and restrictions that will be in place from the Murphy administration similar to last summer which had 26 different requirements that needed to be met at these community swimming pools.
Jersey Shore State Senator Robert Singer (R-30), who is also the Deputy Minority Leader, says there needs to be more clarity by Governor Murphy over the opening of community pools and less restrictions in place to let people enjoy themselves this summer.
"We're looking for clarification because they haven't changed the rules since last summer and that's a real problem," Singer tells Townsquare Media News. "For example, you have to have an ambassador there. First of all, you can't find help to start with, now you have to have an ambassador? You have to check everyone's temperature, you have to have them sign-off on a sheet with a questionnaire, you have to have a liaison with the board of health. I mean, they're making it very cumbersome, unnecessarily cumbersome. We want these pools to be open, we want people to be able to get out and use them and we just want them to streamline the process so that the seniors communities, non-senior communities and the public pools in these associations can be accessed easily and responsibly."
With Covid metrics trending in a better and healthier direction as more people get vaccinated, Singer is making a push to lower or lessen the restrictions in place for community swimming pools.
"People want these pools open for the season, I want these pools open for the season safely, but we have to change what was in affect last summer, it's far ahead of where we were," Singer said. "We don't need all these restrictions, let's lighten them up a little bit and let people enjoy the warm weather and the pools."
There should still be protocols like social distancing in place Singer explains, but less of all the rest.
"Everything can be done within reason, you make sure there's separation unless it's the same family," Singer said. "People will keep a safe distance if you tell them so, there's no reason to have a mask in a pool, that's a little bit ludicrous, let people enjoy themselves, let's start opening up, we can do it safely, I'm sure these communities will do them safely."
Singer said he's heard from constituents across Monmouth and Ocean Counties including the condominium associations and senior communities among many others looking for a normal summer.
"We've got to get back to normality, this is a mental health issue for these people, they've got to be able to see their friends on a larger scale, we've got to get back to some type of reasonable usage of facilities," Singer said.
With many businesses having trouble hiring people who are remaining on unemployment, Singer fears there may not be enough staffing to accommodate the restrictions for community pools.
"You're going to have a tough enough time finding the help to open the pools up to start with let alone starting to have restrictions with ambassadors and everything else there. They just won't be able to do it, can't afford to do it or find the people to do it so let's be sensible about it, let's let these places open if they wish to and I believe they will be sensible...just put down some minimum things you need done," Singer said.
Here are the current restrictions in place for when community pools open May 19:
- Facilities must stagger access to entry and exit points to avoid congregation, and reduce outdoor capacity to 50 percent for the facility and grounds.
- Limit people in indoor areas to 50 percent of the establishment's indoor capacity - excluding employees.
- Staff must be screened for fever and symptoms on entering.
- Staff and pool-goers must wear a face covering outside of the pool when social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained, with the exception of children under age 2 and lifeguards on active duty - face coverings should NOT be allowed in the water due to increased risk of drowning.
- Encouraging 6 feet social distancing while in the water and on the pool deck, unless the individual needs help in order to swim, except immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.
- A sign-in sheet, which may be electronic, is to be maintained for all staff and patrons to facilitate potential contact tracing efforts.
- Patrons can use their own water play equipment, such as goggles, snorkels, fins, kickboards, pool noodles and toys, but sharing is prohibited and such equipment cannot be rented for patrons' use.
- Limit occupancy in restrooms, shower areas, and locker rooms that remain open to avoid over-crowding and maintain social distancing through signage.
- Restrict lap swimming to one direction per lane or one swimmer per lane in indoor pools