Cool Waters Aquatic Family Park in Greenfield, WI
Normally this time of year schools would still be in session for a few more weeks and when classes were through local swimming pools would open for the season.
Normally. Sadly 2020 hasn’t resembled anything near normal.
Last week the Milwaukee County Parks Dept. made this announcement:
We have made the really tough decision to keep our deep well pools closed for the season. This was an incredibly difficult choice to make, because we know what our pools mean to the community. The physical distancing recommendations still in place, limits on group gathering sizes, shortage of available lifeguards, and the drastic toll the pandemic has had on the county budget, in addition to Parks’ significantly reduced staffing levels, have all been contributing factors.
We are hopeful that we will be able to open a good number of our wading pools & splash pads this summer as they provide critical relief from the summer heat, and we are looking at options that will offer opportunities that are equitably distributed across the system.
The county says the parks have 80% fewer seasonal staff this summer than in typical years, including a shortage of lifeguards.
“Every decision we’re making right now is focused on the safety of our park visitors and our staff,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “It’s essential that our services support public health. Unfortunately, the challenges of both COVID-19 and the county’s fiscal reality have brought us to this difficult decision.”
The closure of the pools is unfortunate.
Also, National Public Radio (NPR) asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities. They responded with this caveat: There’s always some risk and the amount depends on each individual and how much time is being spent in close proximity to others.
Prior to Milwaukee County’s announcement Gov. Tony Evers’ administration issued guidelines on how swimming pools should operate when reopened.
At a time when just about everything has been canceled it’s no surprise the county pools weren’t spared.