Becky Kuntzelman | Johnson Publications
The Imperial swimming pool opening is at the mercy of the pandemic, DHM guidelines and Gov. Ricketts’ directives for Chase County. For now, it will remain empty, but pool staff was busy Tuesday painting the pool’s interior.
Pool not opening over Memorial Day weekend; possibly later in summer
Memorial Day weekend is almost here when each year hundreds of youths kick off the summer by swimming at the Imperial pool.
But, they will have to play in the backyard sprinkler or go to the lake this year—at least for now.
Governor Pete Ricketts announced that DHM (Directed Health Measures) guidelines covering swimming pools in the Chase County health district must remain closed until at least May 31, said city Deputy Clerk Tricia Moreno.
Following that date, a review of the current statistics and protocols will be considered in the opening of swimming pools, she added.
“There are a number of swimming pools across Nebraska that will not be opening at all this year,” Moreno said.
Pat Davison, public works superintendent, said the Imperial city council will be having a meeting the middle of June that will address the opening of the swimming pool.
If the swimming pool opens at all, it will not be until July 15, said both Davison and Moreno.
A new filter was purchased last year and recently installed at the pool at a cost of $21,470.
“It was needed. Even if we don’t open the pool this year, it will be there for many years to come,” Davison said.
“I wish I had more definitive answers about the pool opening, but, at this point, it is what it is,” he said.
At least the pool will look good if and when it opens. Pool staff was busy Tuesday painting the pool interior.
Gov. Ricketts’ DHM memo
A memo from Gov. Ricketts’ office said a statewide DHM directive requires social distancing and groups no larger than 10 people when pools open.
“There are some pool facilities that may be able to meet these difficult COVID-19 requirements and not contribute to further spread of the virus through community contact,” it read.
The Department recommended that pool staff carefully evaluate these requirements and stay closed or delay opening until the social distancing requirements in the DHM are lifted.
The current CDC guidance states the COVID-19 virus is not spread in pool water provided proper pool chemistry is maintained.
There is a concern for common areas and people being in close contact with one another and in groups of 10 or larger, the memo said.
Social distancing, proper pool chemistry and frequent common area disinfecting would have to be observed.
Some jurisdictions may require pools to remain closed because of the ongoing pandemic.