New guidelines for swimmers as restrictions ease

On Sunday, the McGowan government announced an easing of restrictions across the state as part of the government’s roadmap to recovery.

This includes the reopening of facilities across the state including libraries, community centres and swimming pools.

One of the guidelines that returning patrons must follow. Photo: Patrick Sullivan.

Strict social distancing guidelines however will still determine how much freedom is allowed while working to ensure public safety.

In the case of swimming pools, owners and operators are taking many precautions to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

The City of Stirling has reopened two of its three pools and has created a strict set of guidelines for swimmers looking to get back into the water.

Abraham O’Connor, a supervisor at Leisurepark Balga, says the system is great and that they are quickly learning to work within the limitations.

“People come in for a swim for about an hour, then they leave and the next group comes in, it’s not too tricky to handle,” he says.

These limitations will allow for a limit of 20 swimmers at a time which will be managed with pre-booked, one-hour timeslots.

Swimmers are required to not arrive more than 10 minutes prior to their booking and are to maintain a 1.5m distance between other patrons.

Patrons must also follow staff direction at all times from when they arrive to when they promptly leave at the end of their session.

Rules and guidelines swimmers must follow to get back into the water. Video: Patrick Sullivan.

City of Stirling mayor Mark Irwin says the city is really excited to be in a position to welcome back patrons to its facilities even with the roadmap restrictions.

“We’re eager to resume the services and facilities but the safety and well-being of the community and of our staff is important, so we are asking the community to follow the conditions of entry at our facilities and to please be patient,” he says.

Councillor Irwin believes the changes should be implemented in a cautious manner with adjustments to be made as needed in the coming weeks.

Sports and recreation centres will need one of these certificates in order to reopen.
Photo: Patrick Sullivan.

These same precautions also apply to local swimming clubs around the state that are eager to get back into the water following the disruption caused by the pandemic.

South Shore Swimming Club president Irene Cooke says she is excited to get her club swimming again and is grateful that the government is giving them the opportunity.

“Every swimming club has to hand in an operational plan to return to swimming which we’ve submitted that should get approved by swimming WA,” she says.

She says the pandemic hit just as junior competitors were at their peak getting ready for nationals, Olympic trials, and junior state championships.

During quarantine, the club had to move to online sessions with focus on mental wellbeing, nutrition, and personal development.  

“We’re happy with whatever we can get, the importance is the safety and wellbeing of all our swimmers and patrons so we’ll work within the guidelines and are just happy to get the kids back to doing what they love.”

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