With temperatures rising and summer fast approaching, Riverside County health officials issued coronavirus-related guidelines Wednesday for pool use.
The recommendations, which county officials stressed are not requirements, apply to pools and spas in apartment complexes or operated by homeowners associations. City- and county-run pools in the area are still closed.
People should continue to keep 6 feet of separation, the guidance suggests, and swimmers should limit themselves to lanes.
While residents of the same home can swim together, large groups and pool parties are still a no-go, county officials said. Tables and lounge chairs also should be properly spaced, or stowed if distancing is not possible.
Residents should wear a face covering when making their way through common areas — including to and from the pool and in shared restrooms — and regularly sanitize their hands.
Pool operators also are recommended to limit spa occupancy to one person or household at a time, or close those features entirely, and to develop scheduled times for pool use on anticipated busy days.
The guidelines — which the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health developed in consultation with Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser — also recommend that pool operators should regularly inspect and restock shared bathrooms, disinfect commonly touched surfaces, post advisory signs and monitor and maintain chlorine levels in the water.
“While we continue to stay in place, we want residents to benefit from as much safe activity outdoors as possible,” Board of Supervisors Chairman V. Manuel Perez said in a statement. “These guidelines are a sensible way to do that with community swimming pools.”
Riverside, like other counties throughout California, has over the past few weeks gradually relaxed some restrictions on outdoor recreation that were put in place to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
In late April, the county began allowing some parks, trails and recreation areas including golf courses and tennis courts to reopen. However, Kaiser later extended the county health order requiring residents to wear face coverings and practice social distancing through June 19.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors debated whether to rescind that order Tuesday, but ultimately held off on making a decision.
As of Thursday morning, there had been 4,672 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Riverside County and 186 deaths. Both those figures are second only to Los Angeles County.