With vaccinations being rolled out across the United States and the world, people are antsy for a return to our pre-2020 world. And with summer just around the corner, we can expect people to flock to resorts and community pools once again, especially after the tough year that they’ve had. If you are a resort or community pool manager, here are some key health and safety precautions to remember to help curb infections.
Why be careful?
But why do we need to be careful if people are already vaccinated? While vaccines are one of the key components to stopping this pandemic, science is clear that vaccines don’t always offer 100 percent protection. Further studies and observation are needed to know the extent of how vaccinated people can still spread the virus.
This is why after people have been vaccinated, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that people continue their pre-vaccine health measures like mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing, and proper physical distancing, especially in indoor public spaces. The vaccines will help prevent severe symptoms and hospitalization, but they might not necessarily keep us from spreading the virus to more vulnerable and high-risk people.
Mind the pool water
Here’s some good news: The virus that causes COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through water or swimming. What people should worry about, on the other hand, is being around so many people in the pool area and not having proper distances between each other. So feel free to maintain your previous pool cleaning strategies, but consider finding a healthy alternative to liquid acid. Traditional pool cleaners are not the healthiest for swimmers. Using a non-toxic swimming pool acid might be easier to maintain, and it’s better for the swimmers’ health.
Remind everyone to keep their distance
From the entrance to every corner of the pool and rest areas, incorporate signs that remind people to keep a distance of at least six feet from others, especially those they don’t live with. If necessary, incorporate some transparent barriers or shields in common areas like the locker rooms to help enforce proper distancing between guests. Stickers on the floor and the walls can also be an effective way to remind people to keep a safe distance.
Re-train your staff
Since we’re already a year into the pandemic, the members of your team might already be practicing these health and safety measures, but it can’t hurt to remind them again. Remind them to avoid touching any part of your face after shaking a guest’s hand. Let them be careful of touching high-touch surfaces in common areas such as the check-in counters and restrooms.
Handling items like room keys, merchandise, and key cards should be done with caution. Regularly disinfect other high-touch surfaces in other areas like tables, water fountains, elevator buttons, and vending machines. Remind them to keep their masks on when around others, wash their hands with water and soap before and after eating, and carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with them so that they can disinfect their hands at any time.
Regularly wipe down high-touch surfaces
Here is a checklist for proper disinfection of your facility:
- Choose cleaning products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They’re better not just for the environment but also for your staff and guests.
- The areas you need to wipe down at least daily or on a routine basis include public areas and break rooms, as well as high-touch surfaces like the check-in counter, front desk, doorknobs, restrooms, tables, water fountains, switches, pens, key cards, handles, countertops, desks, toilets, phones, toilet flush handles, door handles, sink faucets, card payment stations, ATMs, and everywhere else guests come in and out.
- Encourage your staff to use disposable disinfectant wipes on the counters after every encounter with a guest or a swimmer.
- Follow the instructions and directions on the labels of the cleaning and disinfecting products you use.
- Don’t forget to properly dispose of all single-use items that the guest used.
- If you rent out towels, wash them immediately after swimmers return them. Wash the towels according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the label, and use the warmest possible water setting when throwing them in the washer and dryer.
- Consider investing in a vacuum cleaner that has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s a small price to pay to keep everyone healthy and safe this summer. We’re all in this together, and we might see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.