Aquatics Area – NC Phase 2 

Based on Executive Order 141 that Governor Cooper outlined for Phase 2, fitness centers in NC are not allowed to open until further notice. However, the order has lifted restrictions for public pools and interim guidance for opening pools in NC’s Phase 2 plan has been released.  As a result of lifting these restrictions for pools, we will be reopening our lap pool on June 1st with restrictions in accordance with state and local guidelines.

As a result of NC’s Phase 2 requirements, recommendations and additional safety measures implemented by UNC Wellness Centers, our offerings in the aquatics area will be limited to ensure we are following the guidance outlined in the governor’s plan and facilitating appropriate physical distancing to help minimize exposure to others. 

COVID-19 and Water

Proper maintenance of the pools is critical to providing a safe environment for our pool users. According to CDC’s guidance regarding treated recreational water and COVID-19, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. The CDC notes in their COVID-19 and Water FAQ section that proper operation of a pool (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) should inactivate the virus in the water. UNC Wellness Centers have always placed a high priority of proper water maintenance and monitoring.

The following safety measures are in accordance with state, local, CDC and other organizations such as the Medical Fitness Association and USA Swimming. 

Aquatics Area Safety Measures

  • Numerous scheduled manual chlorine and pH checks by lifeguards to ensure proper disinfection levels throughout the day.
  • Latest line of industry’s most reliable and innovative water chemistry controllers that continuously monitor proper pool chemistry levels.
  • Ultraviolet system as secondary source of sanitation: Ultraviolet (UV) pool sanitizers utilize a cutting-edge, non-chemical process that uses germicidal UV light rays to sanitize water. UV pool systems destroy over 99.5% of pathogens that may enter the pool. Toxic chloramines and other disinfection by-products are safely eliminated.
  • Perform ongoing and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas. All disinfecting products we are using meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Per NC requirements, limit the user capacity on the pool deck to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy. Max occupancy for Meadowmont is 29. Max occupancy for NW Cary is 33. Our actual occupancy on the pool deck will be much lower than the allowable maximum due to our restriction of one lap swimmer per lane and entrance to the aquatics area by reservation only.
  • Per NC requirements, limit the user capacity in the pool to no more than 10 people per 1,000 square feet of pool surface area. Max occupancy is 28 at Meadowmont and 38 at NW Cary. Our actual occupancy in the pool will be 5 at MEA and 7 at NWC due to our restriction of one lap swimmer per lane.
  • Hand sanitizer station and disinfectant wipes available in the aquatics area for members and employees.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of employees at entrance to workplace with immediately sending symptomatic workers home to isolate.
  • Signage posted reminding people about physical distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others).
  • Seating will be spaced over 6 feet apart to ensure physical distancing while lap lane users are out of the water.
  • Locker rooms will not be available for use to ensure physical distancing and to minimize exposure.
  • Towels will not be available to minimize the exposure and transmission of virus.
  • Limiting the use to one swimmer per lane to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
  • Stagger swimming start times to minimize amount of people in the aquatics area at the same time.
  • Removal of all shared exercise equipment and other items from the pool area. Lap lane users are permitted to bring in their personal swim items such as leg buoys, swim fins, hand paddles. We ask our members to place all personal items on the bench provided at their lane and wipe down those items and bench once the swim session has been completed.
  • Face masks will be worn by all UNC Wellness Center employees.
  • During electrical storms, all members will be asked to leave the aquatics area and the building immediately.
  • Sani-cloth disinfectant wipes will be available on each lap lane bench for members to use to wipe down benches before and after use. These wipes meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Aquatics Area Reopening Information during NC’s Phase 2 Plan

The following features and guidelines will be part of our June 1st opening:

  • Hours of Operation: Mondays – Fridays: 6am – 7pm; Saturdays: 7am – 7pm; Sundays: CLOSED
  • 30-minute online reservations for lap swimming and individual water walking will be available. There will be no fee.
  • Pool usage will be restricted to members only, 13 years and older.
  • Lane use will be limited to one swimmer or water walker per lane.
  • Reservations will be limited to one per day per person.
  • Locker rooms will not be available to minimize the areas used by our members. Swimmers will shower on the pool deck before entering and after exiting the pool. Family changing rooms will only be available for restroom-use.
  • Please bring your own towel as towels will not be provided.
  • Sauna and whirlpool will be closed.
  • As part of the state guidelines, all UNC Wellness swim equipment, kick boards, swim buoys, noodles, fins will be removed. Personal swim equipment will not be permitted.
  • We will follow all DHHS and CDC guidelines for disinfection and physical distancing. Massage therapy will run on our usual reservation system as well as follow DHHS guidelines.
  • No dues will be billed for June.
  • Aquatics area and building will close during electrical storms. All members will be asked to leave the building until the electrical storm has cleared. Electrical storm closures that occur during any portion of a reservation will not be made up or pushed back.
  • No guests are allowed to use the center or make reservations.
  • Individuals without a lap lane reservation will not be allowed to wait or be in the center (pool deck, lobby, etc.).
  • For members who need ramp or wheelchair access, please reserve the following lane: Lap Lane #1 – Ramp Access.
  • Lap lanes can be reserved up to 7 days in advance.
  • Lap lane reservation start times will be staggered by lanes to minimize the amount of people on the pool deck at the same time.
  • There is a gap time before and after each reservation per lap lane to allow the exiting pool user extra time to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
  • Check in required at the front desk to verify your reservation and enter the facility. Self-scan your ID tag at front desk. Plexiglas sneeze guards at front desk to protect staff and members.
  • Arrive as close as possible to your lap lane reservation time to their reservation time to minimize number of people on the pool deck.
  • When you arrive in the aquatics area, please wait on one of the designated benches on the side of the pool before your reservation starts. This will allow the current pool user time to exit the pool, dry off, gather his/her belongings before exiting the pool and ensure appropriate physical distancing.
  • Sani-cloth disinfectant wipes will be available on each lap lane bench for members to use to wipe down benches before and after use. These wipes meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Members will exit at the back entrance doors of the aquatics area that feeds directly into the parking lot area.

SWIMMING SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS 

PREPARING TO SWIM

  • Know Your Ws: Wear, Wait and Wash. All members coming into the facility must wear a cloth face covering while not in the pool, maintain appropriate physical distancing with other members and staff members, and wash/sanitize your hands often while in the center.
  • STOP! Do NOT come to the center if you have the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
  • Bring a full water bottle to avoid touching a water fountain handle.
  • Towels will not be available. Bring a towel to dry off after using the pool.
  • Arrive as close as possible to your lap lane reservation time to their reservation time to minimize number of people on the pool deck.
  • When you arrive in the aquatics area, please wait on one of the benches on the side of the pool before your reservation starts. This will ensure appropriate physical distancing and allow the current pool user time to exit the pool, dry off and gather his/her belongings before exiting the pool.
  • There is a gap time before and after each reservation to ensure appropriate physical distancing between reservations.
  • Come ready to swim if possible. Locker rooms are closed. Minimize the items you are bringing to the wellness center.
  • Sani-cloth disinfectant wipes will be available on each seating bench at the lap lane entry point for members to wipe down the bench before use. These wipes meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

WHEN SWIMMING

  • Maintain appropriate physical distancing at all times with members and staff while in the pool and on the pool deck.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Exit the pool lane at the end of your reservation time in the same location you entered to ensure appropriate physical distancing. The next swimmer’s start time in your lap lane is staggered to allow you time to dry off, gather your belongings and exit before the next swimmer’s reservation start time.

AFTER SWIMMING

  • Dry off with your towel and leave the deck and center as soon as reasonably possible after your reservation time is over.
  • Pool deck shower is available for a quick rinse if needed.
  • Sani-cloth disinfectant wipes will be available on each seating bench at the lap lane entry point for members to wipe down the bench after use. These wipes meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Exit the aquatics area through the pool area’s emergency exit doors that lead directly into the parking lot.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitizer after leaving the pool area.
  • No congregating after swimming.