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Public, community pools set to reopen Monday with restrictions

By Michal Higdon | May 18, 2020 at 5:35 AM EDT - Updated May 18 at 8:03 AM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Public pools around the state will be opening for the first time in months Monday.

Last week, Governor Henry McMaster announced that close contact businesses, including gyms and pools, can reopen. Many of them, though, have strict rules in place to keep everyone safe in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

State health officials have developed general guidelines for close contact service providers, along with specific guidelines for cosmetology establishments, gyms and fitness centers, and public or commercial pools.

Mount Pleasant

Starting Monday, the Park West and R.L. Jones Center pools will be open with restrictions.

“It is a limited process,” Mount Pleasant’s Recreation Director Steve Gergick said. “It’s kind of a baby step sort of thing that we’re taking right now. It’s going to be very different than our normal full operation. There’s not going to be any water aerobics classes or swim teams or lessons. But it is a way to let the public get back in the pool in a very safe controlled environment.”

On Monday the centers will be open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. After Monday, hours of operations are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The pools will be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


  • A pool membership/lap pass or pool user fee is required
  • Lap swimming only
  • No pool equipment will be provided, including floats, paddleboards, etc.
  • One swimmer per lane using 6 lanes per pool, with limit to 45-minute swim time
  • Shower required before pool entry
  • No locker room availability (arrive in your swimsuit)
  • 6 waiting stations per pool
  • Social distancing will be required
  • Participants may need to wait outside before entering the building if all lanes and waiting stations are filled.

In addition to the pools opening, the Recreation Department is aiming to move forward in providing summer activities, including summer camps and sports, contingent on approval from state and local authorities. Changes to summer camps will be announced on a

weekly basis.


Beginning on Monday, the James Island Recreation Center and Herbert Hassel swimming pools will re-open to the public. The hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The pools will be open for exercise and lap swimming only with no group classes or pool equipment being offered at this time. In accordance with DHEC recommendations, pools will be limited to 20 percent capacity and, as such, only one swimmer will be allowed per lane with a 45-minute time limit.

Temperature checks will be conducted with all patrons prior to their entering the pool area.

Locker rooms will be open for restroom use only and patrons are asked to arrive in their swim attire.

Reservations will be required for pool use and can be made on Monday beginning at 7:00 a.m. by calling 843-708-4104 (James Island) or 843-724-7344 (Herbert Hassel).

Operating hours will be expanded in the coming weeks as additional staff are added.

North Charleston

TheDanny Jones Poolwill reopen for lap swim on Monday. The poll will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

The guidelines below have been put into place for the safety of our visitors and employees. Anyone refusing to adhere to them will not be allowed in the building.

Admission to Danny Jones is $1 per person.

Visitor Guidelines:

  • All visitors must enter and exit through the front (Monitor Street) door.
  • All visitors must wear a face covering when entering the facility and shall keep it on at all times when not in the pool. If an individual refuses to wear a face covering, s/he is not permitted to enter the facility.
  • Prior to entering the pool deck, all visitors will be asked the questions on the COVID-19 Questionnaire. If an individual answers ‘yes’ to any of the questions, s/he is not permitted to enter the facility.
  • All swimmers must arrive in their swimsuits and leave in their swimsuits. Changing rooms are not available and deck changing is not allowed.
  • Locker rooms are open for restroom use only. Showers for rinsing before/after swimming are available on the pool deck.
  • All visitors must adhere to social distancing while on the pool deck before/after swimming.

Facility Guidelines:

  • The facility’s occupancy capacity has been reduced to 80 people (staff included).
  • The pool will be open for lap swim only at this time, per SCDHEC recommendations.
  • Pool length will be set at 50M.
  • There will be a maximum of two (2) swimmers per lane.
  • Swimmers will have a time limit of one (1) hour.
  • Deck chairs will be placed at the end of each lane for use by those actively swimming. Additional deck chairs will be spaced around the pool deck at intervals of six (6) feet.
  • The deep end of the pool is closed to the general public at this time and will be utilized by Aquatics staff for lifeguard training.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the front door and near the locker rooms.
  • Equipment (kick boards, fins, etc.) will not be available for use.

Cleaning Schedule:

  • Deck chairs will be cleaned between each user.
  • All commonly used/touched items (door handles, restrooms, deck showers) will be cleaned between each user group (at 7:00AM, 10:00AM, and 3:30PM).
  • The facility will be thoroughly cleaned/disinfected every evening at closing.

Lifeguard/Staff Guidelines:

  • All staff is required to wear masks at all times, except while in the pool.
  • Prior to arriving for work, all staff shall review the COVID-19 Questionnaire. If staff answers ‘yes’ to any of the questions, s/he should notify his/her supervisor and not report to work.
  • All lifeguards will be assigned a rescue tube for use their entire shift. All rescue tubes will be sanitized at the end of each shift.
  • All lifeguards and aquatics staff will be responsible for cleaning and sanitation of the facility.


  • All swimmers must wear a bathing suit
  • No cut-offs are allowed
  • T-shirts, if worn, must be white or gray
  • All swimmers must shower before swimming
  • Persons with open lesions or wounds are not permitted in pool
  • Persons with diarrheal sickness or nausea should not enter the pool
  • Persons with skin, eye or respiratory infections should not enter the pool
  • Persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed in the pool
  • No solo swimming permitted
  • No running on pool deck
  • No diving allowed
  • No horseplay
  • No glass in pool area
  • Under 2 yrs old must wear swimming diapers.
  • All children under the age of 13 must be supervised by a parent, or relative, over the age of 18 during all recreational swim hours and pool rentals. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Information about swim lessons and the opening of other City of North Charleston pools is forthcoming.

Summerville YMCA

The Summerville YMCA will also be reopening Monday.

Downtown, The Ponds and Oakbrook Pool will operate during the following hours:

  • Monday — Friday: 7 a.m. — 8 p.m .
  • Saturday: 7 a.m. — 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 12 p.m.— 5 p.m.
  • Memorial Day: 7 a.m. — 12 p.m.

“As we welcome the community back to the Y, we want to assure you that safety remains our top priority,” the organization stated on theirwebsite. “We have taken all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our members, program participants, volunteers and staff. This means things will look and feel a little different.”

When you come back to the Y, this is what you can expect:

  • All members’ temperatures will be taken upon arrival prior to check-in. If anyone has 100.4, they will be asked to leave for 14-days.
  • Please wash your hands before you begin working out.
  • Please limit your workouts to 60-90 minutes.
  • Please wipe down all equipment before and after use.
  • Capacity is limited to 5 people per 1000 square feet in available rooms.
  • We each have an important role in helping ensure the health and safety of our community.

To facilitate physical/social distancing between people in our exercise spaces and ensure the highest standards for cleanliness, we have made the following changes:

  • Access to certain equipment (cardio, machines, weights) will be limited to maximize personal distancing. Only every other cardio piece will be used.
  • Group exercise classes will continue virtually through Phase 1.
  • Restrooms will be open; however, showers and locker rooms are currently unavailable during Phase 1.
  • Certain amenities will not be available: coffee areas, sitting areas and saunas.
  • Gymnasium activities will remain closed.
  • Members will be welcome to use the Oakbrook Pool for lap swims only through Phase 1.
  • Members only will be welcome during Phase 1. Guests will be permitted during Phase 2.
  • Increased signage throughout the building to encourage social distancing, hand-washing and promote cleaning efforts.
  • No evidence based health initiatives or senior specific programming (Silver Sneakers, Moving for Better Balance, etc.).
  • Child Development will reopen in Phase 2.
  • The Downtown Family Center Indoor Pool will reopen in Phase 2.

Under state guidelines, you’re asked to follow these steps:

  • Anyone with known exposure to COVID-19 or who has tested positive for COVID-19 should do the following before returning to the facility:
  • Inform supervisor of the facility of your symptoms.
  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately and get screened to be tested for COVID-19. Keep track of your symptoms.
  • Self-isolate at home. When you are without fever for at least 72 hours without the use of medication and all other symptoms have improved and at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared, then seek testing for a negative result from a COVID-19 test or a written statement of good health from a doctor.
  • If positive, complete the isolation steps above and be re-tested before returning to facility.

“We will continue to review these guidelines regularly and communicate changes through email, our website and social media to meet federal, state and local guidelines,” to post stated. “We will continue providing virtual resources for our members. When the State of South Carolina meets or satisfies the criteria to move into Phase 2, and modifications can be made to lessen restrictions, we will move into Phase 2.”

Here are the YMCA’s Cleaning Procedures.

For public pools in your community that are not listed, visit that facility’s website or call before you go to verify that they are open.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Photo: Live 5 News

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