Local pools reopening with restrictions

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2020

As COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, more businesses and facilities have reopened, which includes local pools in Pearl River County.

Millbrook Golf & Country Club

Millbrook Golf & Country Club reopened its pool Memorial Day weekend, and General Manager Colby Scarborough said the club has a variety of safety precautions in place to keep swimmers safe.

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The club has staff who wipe down surfaces after they’re touched, while tables and chairs are also spaced out to observe social distancing rules.

The pool is only allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, so no more than 40 people are allowed in at any one time.

Scarborough said the sanitation guidelines haven’t been that hard to implement during reopening, but getting people to be more responsible for their children due to the fact that there are no life guards on duty has proven difficult.

“Our biggest struggle this year was getting life guards. Most people were not able to get their life guard license because there was nobody to offer classes,” Scarborough said.

While the staff are attentive, their responsibilities lie in keeping the area clean, not watching over swimmers.

However, Scarborough said for the most part members have done a good job of being responsible and allowing the staff to focus on their true job, maintaining the cleanliness of the pool area.

“We’ve been pretty blessed that everyone has followed the rules while being understanding of the situation we’re in. We’re doing the best we can to maintain their safety,” Scarborough said.

Losing some members to the pandemic and seeing a lower number of people at the pool was a possibility, but Scarborough said that so far the numbers have been similar, if not exceeding previous year’s totals.

At first there was trepidation from members about the safety of coming to the pool, but over time those fears have been addressed and now the numbers of interested parties are starting to climb.

“We’re selling more memberships now because people are calling asking questions to see how the whole thing was working, were pleased and felt safe, so they took a month or year membership,” Scarborough said.

There is a summer swim league taking place at the Millbrook’s pool, but Scarborough said the athletes are split into groups who practice at separate times to stay within state guidelines.

Additionally parents aren’t allowed in the pool area, and the athletes are then further split into multiple lanes to allow for social distancing between swimmers.

Overall, the pool area may look and feel a little different for members.

However, Scarborough and the staff are making sure it’s sanitized and safe so swimmers can come to the pool and remember what it’s like to get out of the house after months of quarantine.

“We’re moving full speed ahead while taking precautionary measures, but I feel like people want to get out and get some normalcy back in their life,” Scarborough said.

The Cornertstone

The Cornerstone opened its pool on June 1 and General Manager Jennifer Harrison said they’re also conducting regular sanitation procedures.

Pool attendants wipe down surfaces after each use, while also sanitizing the bathrooms every 30 minutes.

Hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes are also available to pool members, which Harrison said was a practice of The Cornertsone even before the pandemic.

Because The Cornerstone had stringent cleaning practices pre-pandemic, Harrison said the adjustment to the new guidelines hasn’t been that difficult for the staff.

“Nothing has really been that hard because we’ve always encouraged disinfecting whenever you’re done using machines, and we’ve always had wipes and hand sanitizers,” Harrison said.

A month long membership costs $100 for a family of five, and in the past families would have to sign up for a three-month membership. However, because of the financial strain placed on members by the COVID-19 pandemic, Harrison said members can pay on a monthly basis instead of having to foot the entire bill all at once.

Harrison said some people haven’t renewed their memberships because of financial reasons, but for the most part the pool has seen an increase in memberships.

“There hasn’t been a huge drop in pool memberships, actually we have more this year than we have had in years past. I think they’re tired of being shut (inside),” Harrison said.

Harrison said interested parties are more than welcome to drop by for a tour to see not only the facilities, but also how the gym is adhering to strict sanitation guidelines.

Either way, the safety of members remains at the forefront for Harrison and her staff. “We welcome them to come in and see what we have to offer, and I guarantee that their safety is our number one concern,” Harrison said.