City officials looked at every scenario while holidng out hope of opening the Bridgeport City Pool this summer.
However, the decison was made during Tuesday’s regular City Council meeting that the pool will not open.
“We waited until the latest we could,” Bridgeport City Manager Wetmore said. “We think it would be very difficult to open the pool and operate it efficiently.”
Wetmore said he along with Parks and Recreation Director Joe Shuttleworth as well as Recreation Coordinator Katie Squires visited the pool to do some measurements once state guidelines for re-opening pools were released by Gov. Jim Justice last week.
“For us to open the pool now, it would take two to three weeks if everything went well,” Wetmore said. “Joe, Katie and I looked at this from, ‘How do we open the pool? How can we make this work’
“We saw several items that would make it difficult.”
The final decision wasn’t one that was made lightly. But in the end, Wetmore and Shuttleworth both made the reccomendation to not open the pool during the Council meeting and sited issues of public safety, safety of the staff, lack of time to train new staff in accordance to CDC COVID-19 guidelines and the probability that if the pool were to open it wouldn’t be as enjoyable an experience as what everybody is used to.
Wetmore discussed several logistic issues such as:
– All touch points (diving boards, etc) would be required to be sanitized between each use according to the state guidelines.
– There would be a strict six-feet social distance order between groups of people who reside together. For example, a family four even on the deck would need to stay six feet away from the next group or individual. Wetmore said that aspect would be tough to enforce because of the difficulty in knowing who came with who and who belongs with what group.
– Customers would have to be be screened before entry. And if a crowd formed awaiting entry, they would also be expected to maintain the six-foot distancing.
“You take a day like today where it is 90 degrees and people are line being asked all these questions, it would take longer to get in than they think,” Wetmore said.”
In terms of the pool’s measurments in regard to how many people could actually be in the water at one given time, Wetmore said it would have ended up being like a game of Tetris trying to fit maybe 40 people into enough available space — and that’s with the diving boards and slides being closed down.
“If we did open, I don’t think your time at the pool would be a whole lot of fun this summer,” Wetmore said.
Shuttleworth said they were already going to be short on staff and according to CDC rules, lifeguards would not be allowed to assist in the monitoring of enforcing the social distance guidelines for how many people are coming in and leaving the pool.
“Our pool was built 30 years ago and for a lot smaller population than there is now,” Shuttleworth said. “The more shallow end is packed with kids and we would have to force them to spread out. And we aren’t talking financial here but what value is there if we can only let 40 people in and we take away the ability for kids to be kids and we take away a lot of the fun factor?”