BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ The township's Pleasant Valley Pool, which usually opens on Memorial Day weekend, is due to finally open at 11 a.m., Friday, July 3, for members only.

The pool complex's maximum capacity will be limited to 250 people in compliance with the current state restrictions on outdoor gatherings to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the township's Parks & Recreation Direction, Jennifer Gander, said on Thursday. 

The pool opened at 500 capacity since the governor raised the limit later on Thursday, Gander later said. [updated]

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The township initially had hoped to open the pool at least a week earlier, with a maximum capacity of 500, but modified the pool plans while trying to meet changing state guidelines.

"Once the Governor increases that officially to 500, we will increase our [pool] capacity accordingly," Gander said on Thursday. The pool is scheduled to remain open until Labor Day weekend, closing Sept. 7, 2020.

The Pleasant Valley Pool complex is located at Pleasant Valley Park off Valley Road in Basking Ridge. Tentative pool hours are 

11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through August 15

11a.m. to 7 p.m. from August 16 through September 6

11a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 7 

Lower "early payment" rate still in effect for 2020

In recognition, of the shortened season, the membership rate for the 2020 season was capped at the less expensive early payment rate due; typically the fee would have increased on May 1 at the regular rate posted, Gander said.

Memberships are still available, Gander said on Thursday afternoon. Memberships for both residents and non-residents can be purchased online.

For those members seeking a refund, the refund deadline was June 24, she said. However, because entry is now limited to members only, the township will still issue refunds for all guest passes purchased, according to information on the township website. "You will receive a confirmation email with further details after the pool has opened," the website said.

Request to waive initiation fee for this year

At the last Township Committee meeting, the question was raised of whether the township could for this year waive the usual initiation fee for new members _ especially because The Hills master association in The Hills development has refused to open their swimming facilities to residents this summer, citing legal concerns.

Gander said on Thursday that the pool commission had discussed initiation fees at its most recent meeting, "but no policies were changed for 2020."

Some restrictions to avoid spreading COVID-19

For patron's safety, all chairs, tables, and table umbrellas have been removed from the facility. "Our permanent shade structures will be available. As in years past, members are welcome to bring their own chairs when they visit," says a township web page outlining pool restrictions to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.

Also:

_ Both the main pool and training pool will be available for swimming. Children using the main pool must be potty trained.

_ Restrooms, showers and changing areas will be available and monitored for capacity. Foot coverings are required in restrooms, showers and changing areas.

_ The training pool slide, wading/baby pool, splash pad and water play area are high-touch areas with close contact play and must remain closed.

_ Diving boards are not currently permitted. If permitted later, the low diving board may be open later in the main pool. The high and medium dive will remain closed.

_ Due to the limited capacity, adult swim will not be called. However, the pool operators are planning to provide dedicated space in the deep end of the main pool for a 25-meter lap swim. 

_ The snack bar is expected to be open, possibly with a limited menu. The water fountain will be closed.