NEW HAVEN — At a special session of the New Haven Adams Township Parks & Recreation board Monday, the decision was made to not open Jury Pool for the summer of 2020. The decision was based on the fact that it would be virtually impossible to maintain the significant restrictions on operations, attendance and strict social distancing required by state and local authorities and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mike Clendenen, Parks and Recreation superintendent, said, “We are all saddened to have to make this decision, but our priority is the safety of our staff, residents and visitors to the pool. We are joining numerous other municipalities across the country that have closed their aquatic centers and pools for the summer.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make during this pandemic. Our normal pool season is Memorial Day weekend until mid-August. Because of staff shortages we had looked at possibly opening mid-June.
“On May 1 Gov. Holcomb released Stage 3 of the Back on Track Indiana plan stating that community pools could open May 24 according to CDC guidelines. The Indiana State Board of Health provided this guidance through the Allen County Board of Health on May 5. It recommended operating at 50 percent capacity which in our case is 364 patrons (we average more than 500). Social distancing would be in place to keep patrons not in the same household 6 feet apart, and employees would need to wear face coverings when in areas accessible to patrons. The only exception would be lifeguards when in the chair.”
He continued, “In addition, the CDC recommended patrons wear face masks and that enforcement would be done through signage and direct supervision by staff members. Also that masks should not be worn in the water. And, posted signs and waivers needed to explain that there is a danger of contracting COVID-19 if they choose to enter this aquatic facility.
“The pool water is safe because of our filtration system, but once the patrons are out of the water is the concern. It was apparent a month ago that social distancing would be with us through the summer so we knew this summer would be drastically different than past years. It came down to no swim lessons, no birthday party rentals, deck loungers and chairs would not be put out and some other features would be closed, as well.”
Clendenen said 60 to 70 teenagers are hired to work at the pool each season. “The board did not feel comfortable asking them to work in this kind of environment,” he said. “Based on the significant restrictions on operations, attendance and strict social distancing requirements we decided we could not safely and responsibly open the pool.”
He added that anyone who purchased a pool membership, pool rental or swim lessons for 2020 will be eligible for a refund. Any membership gift certificate purchased at a fundraiser will be honored for the 2021 season.
“The New Haven and Adams Township parks and trails will remain open for recreational purposes,” Clendenen said. “Patrons are encouraged to observe social distancing. Athletic fields are also open for use but group size will be limited. Physical distancing will be required.”
“It’s important to work together as a community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by practicing physical distancing, washing hands, covering coughs and wearing masks in public. Together we can make a difference,” he added.