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Swimming Pool Update

May 29, 2020 :: Latest News

Several weeks ago we told the pool management company to get everything ready for the summer as if we’d be opening on time. As of today the pool has been cleaned and refilled, the disinfecting chemicals have been delivered and are in the water, and the pumps have been reinstalled and are operating. The pool furniture is setup on the deck. We’ll install the new awning canopy and unwrap the new large umbrella after we have a definite opening date.

As you may know, last week the leaders of Fairfax County and other Northern Virginia jurisdictions asked Governor Northam to exempt the DC suburbs from the Phase 1 state reopening order, since the number of new reported coronavirus infections and hospitalizations each day in our area is still increasing. The governor agreed to the request, so as of today Northern Virginia is still in Phase 0. Outdoor pools are not allowed to open in Phase 0, and we’re ordered to remain in Phase 0 until June 10 May 29.

Even if Northern Virginia enters Phase 1 on June 10 May 29, which is not at all guaranteed, we will have significant restrictions. Phase 1 pools are restricted to lap swimming only with only one person allowed per lane. We have six pool lanes, so a maximum of only six people would be allowed in the water at the same time. Wading pools would remain closed. Furthermore, the entire pool area would be limited to ten people at a time, including the swimmers in the water. People would be prohibited from using the seating areas. Social distancing of ten feet would be required at all times, with the exception of family members living under the same roof, but we’d need to devise a system to prove the exception. It’s unclear whether we’d always be able to use all six pool lanes at the same time or whether the distancing requirement might require us to leave unoccupied buffer lanes in the case of adjacent swimmers living under separate roofs.

At this time no orders have been announced by the governor to bring any part of Virginia into reopening Phase 2, however that might be defined.

There are many operational issues to resolve before we’d be able to open. International travel restrictions have created a high demand and shortage of domestic lifeguards, leading to hiring challenges. If only five people at a time are allowed to swim, we may need to devise a scheduling or reservation system. All shared equipment would have to be cleaned and disinfected after each use, and “equipment” could include door handles, faucet handles, drinking fountains, changing room benches, and rest room facilities. Even if we assume the pool company will be able to find, hire, and train enough lifeguards, the guards would need to either close the pool frequently to allow time for them to clean or we’d need to hire separate cleaning personnel to be onsite anytime the pool is open. Other issues could include the installation of plastic face shields at the check-in desk, the installation of multiple hand sanitizing stations, and the creation and installation of new signage.

Many of those issues arise from executive orders issued by Governor Northam, but we’re also subject to Fairfax County regulations, county and state health department regulations, and regulations issued by CDC. The Northern Virginia, Maryland, and DC governments have also agreed to work together to unify their reopening plans, so those agreements could also affect us.

There’s obviously a big difference in usage between dozens of people meeting with friends to play, splash, train, and compete together in the water and three or six people swimming laps. At some point the costs of opening the pool could greatly outweigh the benefits and it becomes difficult to justify opening the pool at all.

The bottom line is that once the authorities allow us to open the pool and once the conditions for opening are known, we will open the pool if we can meet those conditions and we think the community at large will benefit. Understand that the Foxfield board is not independently trying to choose an opening date. We all hope the pool will be able to open soon with few restrictions, but we must be realistic and accept the fact that it’s possible the pool will remain closed for many more weeks or conceivably the entire summer. Since most of the situation is beyond our control, at this point we just don’t know. Residents should rely on notifications received from the government, the property manager, and this web site for official information regarding the Foxfield swimming pool and should remain cautious and critical of rumors and gossip that circulate over backyard fences and on social media.

4 Comments to “Swimming Pool Update”
  1. mat miller says:

    May I suggest you accept reservations for each lane for an hour. This will minimize crowding and less chaos at the front desk providing a predictiable capacity compliance with Phase1.

    How you implement it EG: call X day ‘s before and get a lane or make a web form is naturally to be worked out, please consider this.

    Kind Regards
    Mat Miller

    • Scott says:

      Thanks, yes, we could design a reservation system, but that addresses only one of the issues.

  2. Vicki Davis says:

    Do you have an update on FoxField pool opening and the restrictions that will be in place. Could we make a reservation for lap swimming.

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