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Baltimore City park pools reopen with limited capacity, social distancing measures

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jul 13, 2020

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — It’s a big day for Baltimore City Recreation and Parks. All city-owned playgrounds, courts and park pools opened back up for the summer, with modifications to keep guests safe. They have all been closed since March due to the pandemic. Lots of families were out today

"He’s been stuck in the house since school let out and I wanted to get him out so he could have more fun and enjoy the summer so as soon as I heard the pools were opening, I jumped at the chance to get the reservation to come in," said mom Tinia Simpson.

But things are much different this year. No walk ups are allowed. Families need to register online for a specific time.

"This is a way for us to help monitor who is in our pools and help with any kind of contact tracing that’s needed by the health department," said Reginald Moore, executive director of Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.

Moore said when guests arrive, their ticket will be scanned, their temperature checked and they have to fill out a questionnaire. Once inside, they’re encouraged to wear masks when not in the pool, capacity is limited to 50 and there are social circles painted on the ground to keep families separate.

"We’re asking families that were coming, is that they will designate one of the rings and keep all their family belongings, all their things in this circle with them, as well as if they are out of the pool, if they will stay in this area," said Moore.

"There’s plenty of space and the limitation on as many people in the pool helps out a lot, as well having the directions on the ground so you don’t have to worry about crossing too many people," said Simpson.

In between swim sessions, there's a 30-minute block of time for cleaning.

"As the first group moves out of the pools, our staff will go through, sanitize the areas, checking out chlorine levels," said Moore. "If you feel or any of your kids feel ill, the best solution is to register for another time and stay home. We do not want to infect anyone with this coronavirus."

In addition to the 5 park pools at Roosevelt, Patterson, Clifton, Cherry Hill and Riverside, all city-owned playgrounds, outdoor park equipment and basketball and bocce courts are reopening Monday but that equipment will not be sanitized daily.

"So we are encouraging our families to bring their hand sanitizer, wipe the surface and the space your kids are on before allowing them to swing or play on any of the playground equipment," said Moore.

Six additional neighborhood pools will open next Monday. Recreation centers are still closed, operating as meal distribution sites until further notice.