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Summer is just around the corner, so get those bathing suits ready South Florida, because many public pools are reopening by June 14 — just in time for the end of the school year.
Miramar Aquatic Center is an example of a year-round facility that opened for the first time since the pandemic began in January, with 25% capacity, an enforced mask mandate and temperature checks. Now going into the summer, the pool will open at 50% capacity while maintaining the same guidelines, according to head lifeguard Daniel Manrique.
“We have also been doing sanitation of the facilities every four hours, including when we open and close,” said Manrique.
Miami-Dade facilities have been open since last summer, according to the aquatic director of the county’s parks and recreation department, Jim O’Connor. They’ve been operating with very strict protocol at half of the normal capacity, temperature checks, mask mandates and social distancing.
“Last summer, masks were required unless you were in the water, since the CDC says that wearing a cloth mask underwater makes it hard to breathe. Now, in May, masks are recommended [for patrons], but the staff is still wearing facial coverings unless they are in the water,” said O’Connor.
Both Manrique and O’Connor predict that this summer the demand for the pools will be slowly increasing. But the hesitancy is still there, so they don’t expect that the attendance will be as high as pre-pandemic.
Two patrons in Tamiami Park’s facility, Gabriel and Jorge Torres, note that they feel safe going to the pool with their family.
“I see that [the facilities] are enforcing the rules to the best of their ability. I don’t see anything get out of hand or anything lacking, so I think that they are doing enough to keep people safe,” said Jorge Torres.