WASHINGTON — If you're looking to lounge at a public pool and escape the District summer heat, you may need to look elsewhere. Effective immediately, all public pools in the District must remain closed for the summer as the region continues to take precautions against the coronavirus pandemic.
“We understand residents look forward to escaping the summer heat at our pools. Out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with the District’s public health experts, we have decided to prioritize the health and safety of residents," Delano Hunte, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation director, said.
The department currently operates 21 outdoor public pools in D.C., all of which have been closed since March 16.
According to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the pools will undergo mandatory winterization processes like draining and covering. Indoor aquatic centers and spray parks owned by the parks and rec department will remain closed for the rest of the summer as well.
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While the District continues to monitor for the latest reopening plans, other park facilities and programs have opened with social distancing guidelines in place. Parks and playgrounds are open to the public, and the department is still taking permit applications to accommodate outdoor groups of no more than 50.
Community pools can start to reopen under a limited capacity in the third phase of ReOpening DC guidelines laid out by Bowser, which the District is still waiting to transition into.
On July 29, D.C. officials changed a key metric in moving towards Phase 3. The District now would be looking to see a positivity rate below 5%, measured by a rolling seven-day average, rather than the previous measure of seeing under 10% for seven days.
The announcement came the same week that Bowser put additional safeguards in place for D.C., like expanded mask requirements and a travel advisory for states listed as hot-spots.