Indiana public pools, fitness centers opening soon


INDIANAPOLIS — Signs of summer appear to be peaking through the clouds at the same time that coronavirus restrictions start to fade, particularly at public pools.

Some public recreational and fitness centers will be opening this weekend on a limited basis. The Monon Community Center opens their lap pool on Sunday, while the outdoor water park will remain closed until June 14, after Stage 4 of the state’s plan begins

“We will have one member per lane, so they can be socially distant from each other,” said Eric Mehl, a recreation and facilities director at Monon Community Center.

Chlorine is known to kill viruses, although experts like Purdue Environmental and Ecological Engineering Professor Andrew Whelton say it has not been tested with coronavirus.

“The chlorine that’s used in pools is an oxidant, and it’s meant to degrade organic material that is in water,” explained Whelton. “It’s really important to pool owners that they have enough disinfectant in the water to keep the water safe.

“Really, the risk to pools during this COVID-19 era is related to surfaces near pools that aren’t cleaned. This would be the hand railings, the lounge chairs, the other types of equipment that you may touch.”

The Monon Community Center is not allowing people to use their equipment like kickboards or swim equipment in the lap pool, and they are limiting their lap pool to one member per lane, and people must reserve spaces.

“We can also at that point have contact tracing, so you’ll book that time spot so we will know in the future in case somebody were to report back to us that they did test positive for COVID-19,” said Mehl. “We can go back, and we can trace who else may have been at the pool at the same time.”

The Monon Community Center is testing their employees before allowing them to return to work. Life guards will utilize bag masks in the event of an emergency. The equipment allows them to deliver resuscitation without having direct mouth-to-mouth contact.

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