As the weather turns more summer-like each day, there was good news Thursday for people who enjoy taking a swim on a warm afternoon.
Westchester County announced that four of or its five swimming pools will open either later this month or in time for the July 4th weekend after New York State released guidelines allowing pools to operate this summer with restrictions. Municipalities may also start making plans for pool openings if they plan to operate this summer.
The Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains and the Sprain Ridge Pool in Yonkers is set to begin its season on Friday, June 26 while the Willson’s Woods Pool in Mount Vernon and the Tibbetts Brook Pool in Yonkers are scheduled to begin their seasons on Friday, July 3, County Executive George Latimer announced Thursday.
Under the state’s guidelines to combat the spread of COVID-19 cases, pools will be capped at 50 percent capacity. Also, special features at the facilities, such as wave machines, splash ponds and water playgrounds and slides, will be closed, Latimer said. Concession stands, basketball courts and other ancillary activities will remain shut.
“The pools will be open, people will be able to go in, swim and get cool, but they won’t be able to have those specialty activities because they represent situations that do not allow for social distancing, and of course, without masks it could advance the spread,” Latimer said.
To help control crowds, patrons will be accepted each day on a first-come, first-served basis, Latimer said. There will be two three-hour sessions daily, which will each require a person to get tickets for admittance: an early session from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the late time slot is from 3 to 6 p.m.
From 2 to 3 p.m., staff is required to disinfect the facility.
Face coverings will not be needed in the pool or if a person or family can distance themselves from other parties outside the pool, Latimer said. Otherwise, face coverings are required, he said.
There will be announcements every half-hour during each swim session reminding visitors of the rules.
While restrictions have to be maintained, Latimer said it’s better than not having pools open at all.
“The whole mission in being able to open up our recreation facilities is to give people relief, they can have some enjoyment, but we have to do that knowing we can’t let our numbers spike,” he said.
The Playland pool will be shut for the summer. The county was planning on refurbishing that pool after the swim season, but since the state guidelines don’t permit pools to open that are within larger complexes, Latimer said the county will get a jump on the work.
He expects that with three weeks lead time for Saxon Woods and Sprain Ridge and four weeks before Willson’s Woods and Tibbetts Brook are scheduled to open, the county will have sufficient staff.
The county typically opens its pools in time for the last or next-to-last weekend in June.
Municipal pools in locations where officials haven’t announced summer-long closures will also be able to operate while following the guidelines.
Mount Kisco Mayor Gina Picinich said the hope is for the pool at Leonard Park to be open the first week in July, if not sooner. The village is still awaiting specific guidance from the state, she said.
“We are making plans to create a safe environment for residents to enjoy,” Picinich said.
The local region is expected to advance to Phase 2 on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. However, this week has seen a gradual lifting of restrictions. On Tuesday, Cuomo announced summer day camps may operate as soon as June 29 and on Wednesday indicated there will be outdoor dining with the start of Phase 2.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/