June 1, 2020
The Governor issued Executive Order 2020-110 today ending the stay at home order, and allowing certain businesses and activities to resume. Of particular note to Pleasant Ridge residents will be sections of Order 110 regarding public pools, gyms, and summer day camps. While the Governor’s order allows for pools and day camps to reopen, it is still uncertain if we will be able to open the pool. It is certain that we cannot run a summer camp. Gyms are still ordered closed by the Governor, so our wellness center will remain closed for now.
The Governor’s order for pools reads:
Unless otherwise prohibited by local regulation, public swimming pools, as defined by MCL 333.12521(d), may open as of June 8, 2020, provided that they are outdoors and limit capacity to 50% of the bather capacity limits described in Rule 325.2193 of the Michigan Administrative Code, and subject to guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. Indoor public swimming pools must remain closed.
The first challenge is that the Oakland County Health Department has ordered all public pools closed in County Emergency Order 2020-11. This constitutes a local regulation, and as such, our pool is still prohibited from opening.
There are also practical considerations. The community pool is not a light switch that we can flick on and be open for business. The process of preparing for pool season normally begins in March as we get ready for the Memorial Day opening. It is a 6-8 week process to:
- Hire and onboard lifeguards
- Get lifeguards certified through the American Red Cross training program (not currently operating)
- Physically open the pool (this work is performed by contractors and we are subject to their availability)
- Make any necessary repairs to the pool
- Pass county inspections and water quality monitoring requirements before opening (at least a 10 day process after the pool is opened and repairs made)
Even if the County lifts their order closing pools, we still have a long ramp-up period before we can open the pool.
There are factors that remain out of our control. The most critical is our ability to get lifeguards trained. We do not know if or when the Red Cross will be training lifeguards. We cannot open the pool if we do not have an adequate number of trained and certified lifeguards. We would also be dependent upon the pool contractor’s availability to open the pool and make the inevitable repairs that are required every year
The Governor’s order offers a glimmer of hope that the pool can open this summer, but we caution residents to keep your hopes in check as there are still a lot of things that have to fall into place before the pool could open. For now, the pool is still closed for the summer. If the County lifts their order, our recreation staff will start the process of trying to open the pool, but given that we are so far behind our normal schedule to open the pool, it remains unclear if it will be possible for us to do so.
Public health considerations have begun to improve, but the above practical considerations were a significant part of the reason why we decided to announce our pool closure earlier this month.
Summer camp is still cancelled. The Governor’s order allows for day camps for children to resume, but the order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 unrelated persons indoors. We would have to run camp entirely outdoors, we cannot schedule any travel days, and we have not hired or trained any camp staff so it is still not possible to run summer camp this year.