SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy announced on June 8 that, as part of Stage 2 of the state’s reopening plan, municipal and private-club swimming pools can reopen later this month. To do so, however, facilities will be required to follow certain procedures and protocols set forth by the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH).
“These guidelines will play a major role in how the pool functions,” Borough Administrator Glenn Cullen told TAPinto South Plainfield.
While the executive order allows facilities to reopen beginning June 22, borough officials state that the South Plainfield Community Pool will most likely not reopen until next month.
“It is our intention to open the pool this summer. We are in the final stages of construction, and we are targeting an opening in July,” Cullen said.
The Maple Avenue facility closed at the end of the 2018 season and, last year, construction of a new, state-of-the-art facility approved through a $2.475 million non-binding referendum began. The original completion date was set for May 15, however, the contractor has run behind, attributing part of the delay to COVID-19.
As of press time, said Cullen, the pool house is nearly complete; installation of the liner is scheduled to begin the end of this week; and a new slide is slated for installation next week with the decking to follow. The plan is also to have most of the employees listed for hire on the next council meeting agenda, scheduled for Monday, June 15.
“We are happy to hear that the governor has lifted restrictions and is allowing community pools to open this summer, and I am looking forward to the kick off of pool season this July,” said Council President Christine Faustini, chair of the borough’s recreation committee.
Guidelines from the DOH for the reopening of private and municipal pools were released June 9 with State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli stating, 'Social distancing is still the tool we have in our toolkit.'
Under the state guidelines, private and municipal pools will be required to operate at a maximum capacity of 50 percent with attendees maintaining a safe distance both in the water and on pool decks; signs marking off 6 feet of spacing in commonly used areas must also be posted.
Attendees – except children under two - will be required to wear masks in situations when social distancing is not possible and when inside; no masks will be worn in the water, and lifeguards should not wear masks when on the stand. Facilities will also need to post signage urging attendees with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home as well as screen staff for fever and COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, facilities will need to stagger entry and exit points to avoid congregation; require visitors to sign-in for contact-tracing efforts; and limit access to changing areas. The guidelines also state that facilities must be regularly cleaned and sanitized and that pool toys are prohibited in an effort prevent sharing of items.
"The standards will ensure precautions are in place to protect our health while enjoying the pool this summer," Persichilli said.
More information on what to expect at the South Plainfield Community Pool, along with details on membership and a specific opening date, will be published by TAPinto as it becomes available.
“We hope residents will be pleased with the new updated design and amenities and, as a longtime pool member myself, I look forward to continuing to make happy summer memories at the South Plainfield Community Pool,” said Faustini.
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