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Vancouver indoor pools to reopen mid-September with COVID-19 safety measures

Calls for Vancouver public facilities to reopen by community groups
(Aired July 31) Calls for Vancouver public facilities to reopen by community groups

The City of Vancouver has unveiled its plans to reopen indoor public pools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Vancouver Park Board will begin reopening eight of its nine pools, starting in mid-September, using a phased approach.

The city closed all of its pools back in March, and swim groups and the union representing rec centre staff have been pressing officials to let the public back in.

Read more: Vancouver’s private pools are open, so what’s keeping public ones closed?

The pools will offer designated lap and public swimming periods, as well as reserved training time for sports groups.

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People will be able to book a time slot online, but the city is also saving room for drop-ins.

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Vancouver outdoor pools reopen but swimmers face new COVID-19 protocols
Vancouver outdoor pools reopen but swimmers face new COVID-19 protocols

The board has set a target of Sept. 14 to reopen the Hillcrest, Kerrisdale and Britannia pools and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre.

The Killarney, Templeton, Lord Byng and Renfrew pools are slated to reopen on Oct. 13.

Read more: Vancouver’s outdoor pools open Monday with COVID-19 restrictions

The Kensington pool is too small to safely reopen, according to the park board.

The board’s COVID-19 safety plan will include wider swim lanes and new signs and safety protocols for the pool deck, change rooms and entrances.

Pool and change-room capacity will both be reduced, staff will wear protective equipment, and the facility will be closed for cleaning during “buffer periods” between swim sessions.

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Pools will not offer equipment rentals or permit snorkels.