Health

When will swimming pools reopen in the UK?


SWIMMING pools have been closed during the lockdown but many are keen to dive back in and make a splash.

A number of keen swimmers miss out on their favourite exercise – but with rules being further relaxed on July 4, will people be able to get back in the water?

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Indoor swimming pools will be completely different when they reopen in July

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Indoor swimming pools will be completely different when they reopen in JulyCredit: Getty Images – Getty

When will swimming pools reopen?

On June 23, Boris Johnson confirmed the reopening of the hospitality industry from July 4 as the risk of coronavirus decreases.

However, swimming pools are among the few businesses that will remain closed.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen on Saturday, while lockdown barnets will be a thing of the past as hairdressers return.

But pools, bowling alleys, casinos, nightclubs and beauty salons will stay shut.

And swimming centres would need some pre-warning that they can return as one expert has said most pools would need three weeks notice before opening to the public.

Head of facilities for Swim England, Richard Lamburn says pools will have to pass a microbiological test before they can reopen and added that the water will need to be reheated, this has to be done at an increase of 0.25C an hour.

This is while chlorine, which is used in pools to keep it clean also inactivates most viruses.

What are Swim England’s Returning To The Pool guidelines?

Swim England published a list of guidelines for swimmers called “Returning To The Pool” on Monday ahead of pools reopening which could be as early as July.

Swimmers will have to adhere to social distancing rules in the water, while pool cleanliness will be a top priority.

Swimmers will have to maintain social distancing in the water

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Swimmers will have to maintain social distancing in the waterCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, said: “In the early days, it may be that you are encouraged not to use the changing rooms.

“What we’re suggesting is going ‘beach ready’. Some pools might ask you just to put on a towelling robe and — let’s hope you’re not on a bus, you’re in a car — travel home like that.”

People may be told to change by the pool and put their valuables in a bag inside a locker.

Social distancing rules for swimmers in the water will be stricter than usual.

A standard 25-metre pool will be modified so it has three lanes, rather than the normal six.

Under the proposals, this would mean 10 people to a lane, and 30 in the pool in total.

Ms Nickerson said: “It will be a much stricter regime…not standing at the end, but to keep swimming – and to keep five metres from the person in front of you.

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“We are saying if you do need to stop for a rest, or catch your breath, just make sure you get to the edge of the lane, to allow others to turn, and keep your head away, face the wall.”

When will kids’ swimming lessons restart?

There is no official date set for the return of swimming lessons for kids.

Kids “playing around” will be banned from pools unless they are taking lessons.

But children who do not yet know how to swim will still be welcome in pools so they can enjoy lessons.

Ms Nickerson said: “Kids playing around – I don’t think we’ll be seeing that for some time because of the social distancing.

“It doesn’t mean that we couldn’t do lessons, or some club and community activity – as long as they are programmed and maintaining a distance.”

How will pools and changing rooms be kept clean?

Ms Nickerson said facilities would be limited for those attending the pool – with local indoor facilities seeming “very different” when they reopen.

“At this time, we are bound by the Government on when we’ll be able to get back to the sports we all love.

Swimmers will be encouraged to turn up 'beach ready' and avoid using changing facilities

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Swimmers will be encouraged to turn up ‘beach ready’ and avoid using changing facilitiesCredit: Getty Images – Getty

“One thing is clear – initially things aren’t going to be the same when pools do reopen.

“We will have to adhere to social distancing guidelines in changing rooms, the poolside and the water itself as well of the rest of the building and be more mindful of our surroundings.”

She said that communal areas may have to be closed and that people would have to arrive with their swimsuits on underneath their normal clothing.

Swimmers are urged to shower at home, arriving wearing their swimwear under their clothes already and to bring toys and floats with them.

This change, called “beach ready” and is designed to make sure swimmers spend less time in the changing room and to ensure that showers are available post-swim

People may be told to change by the pool and put their valuables in a bag inside a locker.

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