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Coronavirus: Will Quebecers have access to public pools this summer?

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WATCH: Will Quebecers have access to public pools this summer? – May 23, 2020

As the province continues to slowly reopen and resume some summer activities, many are wondering if public swimming pools are part of that equation.

Premier François Legault said Thursday opening public pools this summer is still on the table.

“Our intention eventually is to open up pools,” he said.

“But we’re not there yet.”

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In Pointe-Claire, there are seven public swimming pools.

Mayor John Belvedere says the city is looking at different ways it can reopen them.

“We’re waiting for the recommendations from the government,” he said. “The government said they’re going to put out a guide on how they can be opened — when they do come out with that guide, then we’ll decide if we can actually do it — if we feel safe with it.”

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Belvedere says there are challenges in making sure people can use the pools safely.

“Social distancing, scheduling how many people can come and go — there’s a lot of challenges,” he added.

Residents who live nearby have mixed feelings.

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“They really need to open the pools,” said Pointe-Claire resident Dave Walsh. “Not opening them would make it really hard for a lot of people — especially children the ages of five to 13.”

But others believe opening public pools is too risky.

“Even though I don’t use the pool, I would feel like it would be dangerous for the children because it’s very difficult for them to keep distant,” said Connie Corish.

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Some also wondered if there is a risk of transmitting COVID-19 through water.

According to an infectious disease specialist, the chances are low. He also says adding chlorine to the water reduces the risk even more.

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“If you do the proper maintenance or disinfection, COVID or other kinds of germs, should not be transmitted or contagious to other humans swimming in that pool,” said Dr. Donald Vinh, infectious disease specialist at the MUHC.