SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Earlier this month, Governor Phil Murphy announced that private clubs and municipalities could reopen their pools, effective next month. On a local front, borough officials are aiming to kick off the South Plainfield Community Pool's inaugural season on July 15. With the season already cut short due to COVID-19 and construction delays, the borough council at a virtual meeting June 15, unanimously approved upon first reading, an ordnance amending the rates for the summer of 2020.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed and there are a lot of people who are keeping a close eye on things to ensure that the pool can open,” said Mayor Matt Anesh.
The South Plainfield Community Pool 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 ran behind, attributing part of the delay to COVID-19.
“The last updated schedule received from the contractor is that the pool will be turned over to us on July 10, and we have put a target date out there of the 15th. Anything can always happen [that results in] shifting a date here and a date there," added Glenn Cullen, the borough’s administrator and CFO.
For this summer, regular memberships, which would have been valid from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, will not be sold. Instead, Pool Saver Passes will be available for purchase, beginning June 30.
The rates for the passes proposed for summer 2020 are as follows: Resident Individual – $130; Resident Individual Plus 1 – $200; Resident Family – $230; and Resident Senior (60 and older) – $55. Per person day pass rates will be as follows: Resident Individual Weekday – $12; Resident Individual Weekend/Holiday – $15; Non-Resident Individual Weekday – $25; Non-Resident Individual Weekend/Holiday – $30. Swim lessons are on hold at this time due to COVID restrictions; should they be offered, the cose for eight, 30-minute classes per session would be as follows: $40 for pass holders; $80 for resident (who do not have a pass); and $120 for non-residents.
According to borough officials, unlike a membership, a pool saver pass will not guarantee admittance into the facility.
“The pool will operate differently then it did two years ago where membership guaranteed that you got in,” said Anesh, noting that seniors and pass holders will have preferred entry times of up to two hours before daily pass patrons and non-residents passes will be subject to availability.
While the borough has the green light from the state to open the pool, the approval to do so also comes with specific guidelines and restrictions set forth by the New Jersey Department of Health. Among them are capacity limits of 50 percent.
Based on the size of the facility and the current social distance requirements, borough officials estimate that the pool can welcome 350 patrons at a time with additional individuals admitted throughout the day as others leave.
Additional requirements include maintaining stringent cleaning and sanitizing practices; screening of staff members for fever or signs of COVID-19 prior to admittance to the pool facility; installation of sanitizer stations throughout the pool facility; and sanitizing of public, high touch areas frequently.
Staff and patrons are also encouraged to wear a cloth face covering while not in the pool when social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained; lifeguards, however, are not to wear face coverings while on duty and face coverings will not be allowed while in the water or be required for children under the age of two.
“As situations change, we have been providing updates on the recreation site and Mayor Anesh has been posting them on his [Facebook] page and the borough’s as well as relaying them in his weekly messages,” said Council President Christine Faustini, chair of the borough’s recreation committee. “If anything changes, we will let the community know right away.”
“We are hopeful that the pool will be a jewel for the community,” added Anesh.
The Borough Council will vote on the amended ordinance and proposed rates at a special meeting planned for June 29. If approved, South Plainfield Community Pool Saver Passes will be available for purchase online through Community Pass (https://bit.ly/2JpGLO2) beginning June 30. While the South Plainfield Department of Recreation offices remain closed to the public, staff are available via phone, (908) 226-7713, or email, email@example.com.
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