Savannah swimming facility renovates during closure

Savannah swimming facility renovates during closure
The Chatham County Aquatic Center is undergoing a renovation before swimmers return. (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Some public spaces like public pools in the City of Savannah and Chatham County aren’t open just yet.

When they do open, you may be wondering whether or not it’s safe to swim now due to the health crisis.

“The CDC says there is no evidence that people can get COVID-19 from swimming in the water,” says Brant Phelps. Phelps is the Director of Environmental Health for the Coastal Health District. "Proper maintenance and operation of the pool should nullify the spread and effect of COVID due to the presence of chemicals like chlorine or bromine.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself while at the pool. The Coastal Health District says if you’re not in the water, you should wear a face covering and avoid sharing things like food, goggles, toys, snorkels, and other items that are hard to clean and sanitize.

They also say pools should be cleaned as frequently as possible. Deck chairs and tables should be spaced out, and commonly touched surfaces like handrails, tables and chairs should be cleaned more thoroughly.

The City of Savannah says they won't reopen pools until Phase 3 of the city's reopening plan.

Other public pools like the Chatham County Aquatic Center have been closed as well. Chatham County Parks and Recreation Facilities Manager Holly Holdsworth says they’ve been renovating while the facilities have been closed.

“When we first closed, we started to talk about it," she said. “And I said if we have the opportunity let’s pull the trigger.”

The Aquatic Center closed in March. Since then, the center has had a deep clean and major plans have taken place like resurfacing the pools, replacing interior lighting in pools, and more.

“We’ve got a plumbing project in our locker room, so that you will have your own valve and temperature control in each of the showers," she said. "We are replacing the grading around the lap pool. We’ve already got the lobby painted in the locker rooms are being painted this week.”

Holdsworth says a planned renovation and closure was supposed to be in August and September. Since they began, they’ve been able to safely bring contractors in and keep people working.

Holdsworth says they’re missing their members and their goal is to get back to teaching swim lessons and other programs. She also says it’s rewarding to see the effort staff is putting in during this time and is excited to show the public what they’ve been up to.

“People are going to come back now and instead of just coming back to the same pool with a future closure for renovations, they’ll be able to come back and really see a lot of improvements which we’re excited to show off that we’ve been working really hard during this closure,” she said.

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