How to practice coronavirus safety around this holiday weekend

Posted at 5:41 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 18:41:32-04

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, pools are able open up as the summer heat begins to hit Central Texas. Due to the pandemic, many individuals are unsure of the cleaning and safety procedures of pools.

“You’re more likely to be exposed to this outside of the pool then in the water and through the water and things like that,” said Dr. William McCunniff.

According to Pool Calculator, chlorine is able to eliminate most bacteria including E. coli, salmonella, and bacteria from urine in less than a minute. Chlorine is also able to kill most viruses.

The CDC states there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through pools, hot tubs, or spas, and chlorine can inactivate the virus when used as a disinfectant in pools. In fact, chlorine bleach is found in most household cleaning products.

“So in a swimming pool, we get to run our chlorine residual a little bit higher. When we add it, shocking the pool, it's almost burning that type of stuff that’s in the water off within the first hour or two,” said Jason Rich.

Adding chlorine is just one step in cleaning a pool. There are additional mandatory actions that community pools must also follow to properly clean and disinfect the water.

“We properly balance all the water chemicals in the pool first and foremost and get it so the chlorine is most effective in the water. And as far as the maintenance, we get all of the debris out of the pool, vacuum the pool, and make the pool as clean and sanitary as possible,” said Rich.

The real challenge? Maintaining social distancing.

“The guidance the state and the county has put out in regards to how many people can be at a pool is really important to follow, and so that’s going to be the most important thing. Limiting the number of close exposures in a pool setting,” said Dr. William McCunniff.