Countywide roundup of COVID
impact on swimming pools
By Rhett Wilkinson
The pools in Sanpete County have taken different approaches because of COVID-19. Some have reduced the number of permitted attendees, while another has closed entirely.
Below is a compilation of how the county’s five pools are handling the pandemic.
Skyline Mountain Resort Pool
The pool is shut down for the entire season this year.
The only text on the Skyline Mountain Resort Pool webpage reads: “During these unforeseen times of COVID-19, Skyline Mountain Resort’s swimming pool will be closed for the 2020 season. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Mt. Pleasant City Aquatic Center
The center is allowing only 50, rather than 150, people at a time in the pool—and the center had indeed seen 100 to 150 people at a time, said Britanny Adams, aquatics director.
Further, youth groups that usually come to the pool aren’t coming. Swimming lessons have been staggered. And the front desk staff is required to wear masks, which have included masks donated by members of the community, Adams said.
The restrictions on attendees follow the center having to shut down in the middle of March, when the state of Utah was in a red restriction phase.
Adams said the center has “just kind of done what [it] needed to do.” With 50 attendees at the pool, three guards, rather than six, have been on duty. The center hasn’t had to pay for a teacher with five kids in a swimming class, rather than eight.
“[It’s] helped us cut our costs,” she said.
Plus, concessions are still available, Adams said. The concessions allows for revenue.
The revenue hasn’t been as high as usual, which “makes it hard to be open,” Adams said, noting that she doesn’t have money to pay staff members.
“It’s a very fine balancing act trying to balance with what’s healthiest, what’s trying to make money,” Adams said.
When asked about the most challenging part of cutting back the maximum count of attendees, Adams said that finances are always frustrating. Some people don’t realize the center is open. People don’t attend the center on Tuesdays, though it is open.
“It’s just a little bit of everything, I guess,” Adams said.
Most folks have been “understanding” and “polite” about the center needing to take unusual measures, Adams said.
The center has seen more private reservations, even compared to previous years, Adams said.
The center will be back to full capacity after the state goes back to a green restriction phase, Adams said.
Pools were considered an “amusement park” by officials before getting their own subcategory, Adams said, noting that the center is subject not just to state mandates, but local mandates.
Aquatic Center, Snow College Horne Activity Center
The allotment of attendees at the aquatic center in the Horne Activity Center is nearly half of what it used to be. The center may have 65 attendees when its capacity is 132. However, it’s not a rough go regarding revenue because the pool rarely gets 65 people, aquatic center Director Matt Johnson said.
“It’s not really a big deal,” Johnson said.
Sometimes a group will come in, but rarely will the pool get busy enough to host 65 people, Johnson said.
Also, the aquatic center isn’t doing swim lessons or hosting a youth swim team between ages six and 18 years old, Johnson said. Folks must wear masks into the building and while in the locker room. They can, of course, take off their masks once they are swimming.
“That’s what they have asked us to do in yellow,” Johnson said, referring to the state’s yellow COVID-19 restriction phase.
The pool is going by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation for pools.
Hours haven’t been influenced by the pandemic, Johnson said.
Manti City Aquatic Center
The aquatic center is closed. It is uncertain if this is due to COVID-19 or because the summer season has passed. The Sanpete Messenger went to the center multiple times during hours where it is supposed to be open. The phone number for Phil Murray, the center manager, did not work after multiple attempts to contact him.
The Manti City recreation department issued guidelines and information regarding attending the center:
“Remain at least six feet from individuals when in the pool and facility”
“No swim lessons at this time”
“Avoid contact with high-touch surfaces”
“Do not congregate on the pool deck; make sure and spread out”
“Spectators maintain social distancing between groups and wear face coverings when social distancing guidelines are difficult to maintain”
“100 people allowed in the facility during each swimming block”
“Must reserve a time to use the pool during public swimming”
Gunnison Valley Swimming Pool
The pool has cut its permitted numbers of attendees back to 75 at a time. Previously, there wasn’t a limit, pool staffer Haven Lyman said.
When it comes to COVID-19’s influence on the pool, “less people come, but that’s about it,” said Lyman. She thinks that changes in hours in the pool are just a switch to typical winter hours because school started.