ARLINGTON, Va. — Northern Virginia is on the road to recovery as it prepares to enter phase two of reopening on Friday.
That includes the reopening, in a limited capacity, of indoor dining, gyms and swimming pools.
"Right now, there are not a lot of options out there for where parents can send their kids to get out excess energy, to get a little exercise," Allison Teitelbaum, president of the Glen Forest Community Association, said.
Teitelbaum oversees her community’s pool, which is preparing to reopen under phase two rules.
"It's going to look different," she said. "There's going to be social distancing requirements, there's probably going to be waivers that you have to sign when you go in and out of the pool and you may have temperature checks."
As part of the phase two plan, indoor and outdoor pools can reopen for lap swimming, exercise, diving and instruction. Swimmers and divers must stay ten feet apart and no more than three people can be allowed in a diving area at one time.
In Arlington, the Overlee Community Association’s pool reopened in a very limited capacity as part of phase one, and is adjusting to meet the new requirements for phase two.
“In phase two we’ll be able to lay around the deck," Overlee Pool's Resident Manager Greg York said. "You'll be able to have people laying out, you'll be able to have more lap swimmers, because it goes to three to a lane. But we'll go to just two, because we want to keep our social distancing. And younger kids will be able to come in and do lap swimming, so any age that can swim laps will be allowed."
York said they are working on Camp Overlee classes where kids can social distance and exercise inside the pool in a fun way.
“Anything we can do to get the kids in the water and get wet,” York said.
Across Northern Virginia, some water parks are opting to remain closed for the summer.
NOVA Parks has changed its operating status to closed for the 2020 season because of COVID-19.
Fairfax County’s water parks, spray grounds, and RECcenter pools will remain closed, according to a Park official.
Prince William County’s public outdoor pools will also not open for the summer 2020 season, citing health and operational concerns related to the pandemic.
“We came to the conclusion it is not feasible without placing people at risk and safety is our top priority,” Prince William County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Seth Hendler-Voss said. “We understand how disappointing this must be for the thousands of visitors who depend on us for summer memories and relief from the heat. We regret we could not find a way forward.”
Arlington Public Schools announced Thursday that they will reopen pools in early to mid-July.
York said with so many of the public pools remaining closed, the phones at Overlee have been ringing off the hook with people trying to find somewhere to go swimming.
“We're getting calls from D.C., because D.C. is not open and none of their pools are," York said. "Montgomery County and Prince George's are not opening their pools yet, and we're like, we're full -- we have a waiting list."
At Teitelbaum’s community pool, she said they still have some membership openings available.