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Several hundred villagers and out-of-towners converged on the Gaunt Park pool on Monday, a sweltering hot Memorial Day. The pool was recently upgraded with $80,000 worth of repairs, according to Village Public Works Director Johnnie Burns. The Yellow Springs pool is now the only operating municipal swimming pool in Greene County. (Photo by Diane Chiddister)

(Photo by Diane Chiddister)

Pool to open on June 5

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The Gaunt Park Pool will be reopening this year, with some changes.

Village Manager Josué Salmerón made the announcement at Village Council’s May 18 virtual meeting.

As part of his Responsible Restart Ohio plan, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that public pools in the state can reopen with enhanced health and safety measures beginning on May 26.

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The local pool will open on June 5 at a reduced capacity of 120 people. There also will be no season passes, day pass rates will be reduced, and swimmers will be permitted to swim for two-hour sessions, after which there will be a cleaning period for up to 30 minutes, Salmerón explained.

“A rotating shift would allow for proper cleaning and sanitation that would create a safer [pool],”  Salmerón said. “Everyone leaves the facility for a full round of cleaning.”

The pool will be reserved for Yellow Springs residents only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Council additionally decided at the meeting.

Council Member Laura Curliss made the motion for residents-only days, which was unanimously supported by Council. The Village Manager will come up with a policy permitting a limited number of guests to accompany residents on those days.

Council Vice President Marianne MacQueen said restricting the pool to residents only on certain days would be safer.

“By limiting it to Village residents, we can limit the number of people coming into the pool,” she said. “And it’s safer because the people coming into the pool would be coming from just this place.”

In past years, pool attendance has been 80% Yellow Springs residents and 20% nonresidents, Salmerón noted.

State guidance on pool safety measures referenced the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s statement that “there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas” and that properly operating the facilities “should inactivate the virus in the water.”

Among the safety measures the Village is looking at are face shields for employees, Plexiglas barriers for entrance, removing some chairs, enhanced bathroom cleaning, and the use of coupons to avoid cash transitions, according to Salmerón.

Some villagers who participated in a live chat on YouTube during the meeting weren’t supportive of the decision to reopen the pool or raised the questions about the move. Sommer McGuire noted that Kettering has decided to keep its pool closed for the season for health reasons. Kate Hamilton wrote, “Such a mistake to open the pool during this pandemic.” And Matthew Kirk wrote that having staff decide who can enter the pool could be “subjective” and “open the Village to lawsuits.”

Pool day passes will be $3 for children and $5 for adults, down from the previous rate of $4 for children and $7 for adults. The pool will remain open until Aug. 23, or when school resumes.

Other items from Council’s May 18 meeting will be in next week’s News.

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