WAVERLY – The Waverly City Council made a tough decision to keep the city pool closed for the rest of the year.
During its June 9 meeting, the council voted to 3-1 to not open the pool, which has not opened yet this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Administrator Stephanie Fisher said on Monday that there were two primary reasons the council chose to put an end to dreams of splishing and splashing in the city pool.
First, and foremost, is the safety of the citizens.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for (the council),” Fisher said. “But it was the safest and best decision.”
The council also took into consideration the fact that the city’s insurance carrier advised them not to open the pool, according to Fisher.
If the council had opted to open the pool, there would have been restrictions placed on operations.
The Lancaster County Directed Health Measures (DHM) set down strict rules for pools this summer, which the City of Waverly would have to follow. They include screening of patrons and staff for COVID-19 symptoms and taking their temperature upon arrival at the pool. As they arrive at the pool, patrons must wear a mask as they check in and must stay six feet away from each other. Staff must wear facemasks when interacting with patrons and other staff.
The DHM also require swimmers to shower in their swimsuits with soap before entering the pool. Once inside the pool area, they must bring their own folding chairs, drinks (in non-glass containers) and individually packaged snacks. Concession stands aren’t allowed.
Swimming is limited to three 90-minute sessions per day. In between these sessions, high-touch surfaces in the pools and bathhouses will be disinfected by staff. Each pool will be limited to the amount of people that can be allowed in, and once that maximum is reached, the pool is closed.
Fisher said family passes, which are popular during the swimming season, would not be available because of the DHM. Family passes bring in revenue for the city, Fisher said. Without them, they would not be able to bring in enough money to justify opening.
“It would’ve been a significant loss this year because our revenue would have been seriously decreased,” she added.
Staffing would have also been an issue, according to Fisher. The American Red Cross, which certifies lifeguards, was not holding certification classes, she said. Although life guard who had been certified in 2019 received automatic renewal of their certification, it would have limited the number of life guards the city could employ, she added. And they would have had to hire extra staff to help with cleaning between swim sessions.
A handful of municipal pools are open in Lincoln, according to a press release
from the City of Lincoln. On Monday, Arnold Pool, Ballard Pool, Belmont Pool, Irvingdale Pool, and Woods Pool opened. The four pools remain closed are Star City Shores, University Place, Highlands and Eden. The Trago Sprayground will also be closed. Private pool rentals will not be offered.
The playgrounds in Waverly’s city parks also remain closed, Fisher said, but the council is discussing possible dates to reopen. However, the greenspaces in the parks have been open throughout the pandemic, she added.