For valley families, pool time is normally an essential part of staying cool in the scorching summer months. But many of our local public pools and water attractions have been shut down due to the pandemic.
News Channel 3’s Madison Weil spoke with local leaders getting an update on what valley residents can expect in the near future.
This week, the John H. Furbee Aquatics Center in reopened its doors, making Desert Hot Springs the first valley city to reopen a large public pool.
“It’s super hot out here...it gets to be like 120 degrees,” said Crystal Grajeda, a lifeguard supervisor for the center. “It’s a great way for families to bond and swim,” she said.
Grajeda explained that the center is reopening with new protective measures in place, such as temperature checks at the door and a face covering requirement when guests are not in the water.
“If you’re sitting outside, the chairs are going to be six feet apart,” added Jasmine Teegarden, another lifeguard supervisor.
One of the first swimmers in line to get back in the water Monday morning was Emilia Lockhart, a young competitive swimmer who drove from Palm Springs.
“It’s been really hard…[the water] is like a second home to me,” said Lockhkart. “It helps me relieve a lot of stress. I had some of the best friends I could ever ask for on that team...so it’s like a second family to me,” she added.
So what about other public pools across the valley? Each city has had to weigh the costs and risks of reopening public pool amenities, as these centers are normally packed with people in the summertime.
The city of Palm Springs says they’ll be making a decision on the Palm Springs Swim Center at Thursday night’s council meeting after reviewing different proposals on how they might reopen safely.
Over at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center, the manager told News Channel 3 they had a plan ready to reopen before the recent second wave of coronavirus closures hit: “We would initially have just been open for lap swim, with one person per lane [...] They’d exit the facility and our staff would clean all touch points they would have utilized,” said David Keyes.
Keyes explained with the recent increase in cases, they’re keeping their doors closed for now, indefinitely. “We wouldn’t want to do that to our part time staff...have them in here working for a week and then have to lay them off again,” he said.
It’s a similar story for Coachella’s Bagdouma pool and La Quinta’s Fritz Burns pool, both Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez and La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans say their public pool amenities remain closed with no estimated reopening date at this time.
Cathedral City’s “Fountain of Life,” a popular feature outside city hall that usually draws families with young children, will remain off this summer.