Santa Barbara swimmers can dip their feet into reopening recreational pool facilities starting with Los Baños Del Mar on Tuesday, May 26. This will be the first in the greater Santa Barbara area to reopen after the countywide COVID-19 closure on March 16.
The response to the pool opening has “overwhelming and extremely positive,” said Rich Hanna, recreation manager for the city Parks and Recreation department. As of Monday, every available slot for the first five days had filled. When new spots open, they have been filled within 10 minutes of being published, he said. Parks & Rec is exploring adding more swim time options centered around pre-programmed and scheduled aquatic programming.
But there are new rules: The modified pool opening is under Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health guidelines. Swim lanes are limited to one swimmer per lane, and lane assignments must be booked online in advance, a city press release stated. Swimmers must bring their own equipment — public, shared equipment will not be available —including their cloth face covering for when they are poolside and in the restroom access.
Two 15-meter lanes are available, 10 lanes of 25 meters, and two 50-meter lanes. A booked session last for one hour, with 15-minute transitions. The pool is sanitized with liquid chlorine at chemical levels that comply with all federal, state, and local guidelines, and staff will be sanitizing high traffic areas after each use.
More information regarding the Safe Swimming Guidelines can be found here.
Plans for reopening other recreation facilities, like Ortega Park’s pool, city wading pools, the UCSB Aquatic Center, and the Santa Barbara YMCA. According to Jennifer Heinen-Stiffler, chief operations officer for the Channel Islands YMCA, the indoor pool at the Santa Barbara YMCA has not been given the green light to reopen, and the Montecito Family YMCA’s pool is closed until June for repairs.
“We do plan to open for summer but do not have a date yet as it will depend on the maintenance being completed,” Heinen-Stiffler said. “We will of course abide by health department guidelines at the Montecito pool when reopening.”