Pools can open but rules too difficult to meet for most

2020/05/25 10:09:02 Written by Canarian Weekly National

Territories that are starting phase 2 of the de-escalation plan, will be able to open swimming pools with a capacity of 30 percent... IF they are able to comply with all the health requirements.

This was published on Saturday by the Official State Gazette (BOE), regarding recreational pools, so they can be opened to the public.
The Association of Properties Administrators, that controls the management of thousands of complexes across Spain, has said that:
1. The rules are not manageable for most complexes.
2. Particularly in mainland Spain there is no need for pools to open because of occupancy.

This does not mean pools cannot open, but does mean most will not.
There are complexes in different regions, including the Canary Islands, that are going to open their pools, so here are the requirements it is necessary to meet, to open a recreational pool:

- The maximum capacity allowed will be 30% of the installation's capacity, as long as it is possible to respect the two-metre safety distance between users. The Order of the Ministry of Health of May 16th establishes that, otherwise, said capacity will be reduced in order to comply with the safety distance.

- In order to access the pool, an appointment must be made with the facility's managing entity. For this, schedules will be organized in shifts, outside of which it will not be possible to stay in the facility.

- The Order states that prior to opening, cleaning and disinfection of the facilities must be carried out with special attention to closed spaces such as changing rooms or bathrooms.

- Likewise, the different equipment and materials such as, glass, ropes, auxiliary materials for classes, perimeter grid, first-aid kit, lockers, as well as any other in contact with users, and that is part of the installation, must be cleaned and disinfected.

- The biocides to be used for surface disinfection will be those of product type 2, referred to in Annex V of Regulation (EU) No. 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of May 22nd, 2012, regarding the marketing and use of biocides.

- Likewise, disinfectants such as dilutions of freshly prepared 1:50 bleach or any of the disinfectants with virucidal activity that are on the market and that have been authorized and registered by the Ministry of Health may be used.

- With regard to hygiene and prevention measures, the Order stresses that surfaces in frequent contact with users' hands, such as door knobs for locker rooms or railings, should be cleaned and disinfected at the less, three times a day.

Shortly after learning of the requirements for the opening of swimming pools, the General Council of Colleges of Property Administrators of Spain (CGCAFE) denounced that the majority of owner communities will not be able to comply with them.

The CGCAFE points out that the majority of the homeowner communities do not have any capacity control system, and there are no responsible personnel in charge of the facility who can control or limit access by the owners and, in cases where they have a lifeguard, their competence is limited to controlling the pool itself.

Nor do they consider it possible to manage previous appointments without staff, and a phone is needed, so most communities of owners lack both resources.

In addition, it states that if the area reserved for each person is marked and, in addition, an area must be reserved for access and transit, the available space is reduced in such a way that the actual capacity can be much less than the mandatory, which will shoot up the costs of the service in proportion to the number of users, which will have to be paid for by the community fee contributors.

This is why it is deemed unmanageable or unpractical, at this moment in this phase, to open the majority of complex pools.

- According to the Order, the use and cleaning of toilets will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of article 6.5 (reinforcing the cleaning and disinfection of said toilets, always guaranteeing the state of health and hygiene of themselves, and with a maximum occupancy of one person, except in those cases of people who may require assistance, in which case use by their companion will also be allowed).

- Likewise, it must be verified that, at all times, they are equipped with soap and / or hydroalcoholic gels or disinfectants with virucidal activity authorized and registered by the Ministry of Health. And you will not be able to use the showers in the changing rooms or the water sources.

- Users will also be reminded by means of visible signage of the hygiene and prevention regulations to be observed, pointing out the need to leave the facility in case of any symptoms compatible with COVID-19.

- In the users' areas of stay, a spatial distribution must be established to guarantee the safety distance of at least two metres between users by means of markings on the ground limiting the spaces.

- All personal objects, such as towels, must remain within the established two-metre security perimeter, avoiding contact with other users.