Bexley revises summer operating rules for Madison Pool
In response to Gov. Mike DeWine announcement that state COVID-19 coronavirus-related orders would be lifted June 2, the Bexley Recreation and Parks Department announced new operating procedures at the David H. Madison Community Pool.
The pool reopened May 29 after remaining closed in 2020 because of the pandemic.
The most significant changes to previously announced operations for this summer’s pool season include: increasing the maximum capacity from 130 to 550 patrons; accepting admission at the gate on a first-come, first-served basis; lifting time restrictions and not requiring pool attendees to pre-register for time slots; and offering memberships.
Recreation director Michael Price said the Bexley recreation board approved the new procedures after the department reviewed updated federal, state and county health recommendations and consulted with the city’s COVID-19 Task Force.
“A lot of the last couple of discussions have been with the COVID 19 Task Force on how to adjust the pool to make it as close to normal as we can,” Price said. “This is the adjustment we’ve been able to make with the governor lifting all the health orders.”
Instead of a flat $5 admission fee that recreation and parks officials previously announced, admission will now be $10 for adults up to age 55, $7 for children and $5 for adults ages 55 and older, with discounts for evening passes during the last three hours of the day.
Memberships range from $255 for a family of six for residents and $319 for nonresidents, to $92 for an individual resident or $115 for an individual nonresident.
“By increasing our capacity, the membership model makes sense because people have a lot more access (than previously announced), Price said. “We don’t have to have restrictions on an hour-and-a-half swim time.”
The department is installing technology that will enable visitors to view the number of patrons already at the pool online and at the gate to determine the capacity on a given day, Price said.
On weekdays, the pool will be closed for 90 minutes to two hours to give uninterrupted swim time to children participating in camp. Swim lessons will also be offered in two-week sessions, rather than the typical six-week sessions offered in years past, Price said.
“We’re going to teach the kids spaced out so in the event that there’s a COVID-positive test, it won’t require all the other kids to quarantine,” he said.
Although pool staff members will not take patrons’ temperatures upon admission, the recreation and parks department is asking people to be vigilant and stay home if they experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19, Price said.
“We’re asking all patrons to self-assess and not attend with any symptoms or any exposure to someone with COVID,” he said.
Even with the expanded capacity, the recreation and parks department projects that the pool will end up with a deficit of as much as a $70,000 at the end of the season because of likely overall lower attendance, Price said.
“I’m always looking at worst-case scenarios,” he said. “It’s tough to say if we’re going to get our normal 700 memberships, or less or more.”
The department will continue to monitor COVID-19 case counts and consult federal, state and local health recommendations, which could result in changes to the pool’s operations, Price said.
“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that everything is subject to change,” he said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll continue to move in the right direction.”
For more information about the pool, go to bexley.org/pool.