Fulton County residents can once again experience the splish-splash of their community pools as Ohio ends its COVID-19 restrictions beginning June 2.
That leaves Memorial Day pool activities still under the purview of current state pandemic protocol over the three-day holiday weekend. But the community pools in Archbold, Delta, and Wauseon will offer varying degrees of enforcement.
Delta Administrator Brad Peebles said the pool at Delta Memorial Park will open this Saturday, May 29, with maintenance of state restrictions under the honor system. Vaccinated guests won’t be required to wear masks, “but we do respectfully ask that if you’re not vaccinated that you advise the staff so we can take the appropriate precautions,” he said.
Peebles said pool staff members will be masked if notified of unvaccinated guests, and maintaining social distancing will be practiced on the deck.
Activities in the pool will have no restrictions.
The pool remained closed last summer after village officials couldn’t guarantee they could follow the much stiffer protocols issued at the time by the state. Peebles said that’s why he hopes unvaccinated guests will report their conditions, “just of out common respect.”
Pool hours will be Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. The season will close in August in anticipation of school.
As for how many customers will swarm the facility after last year’s closure, “That’s going to be a very interesting question I wish I had the answer to. We’re not sure what to expect,” Peebles said.
Archbold’s village pool opens Sunday, May 30, from 1-5 p.m. Village Parks and Recreation Supervisor Jen Kidder said the pool and pool house flooring were redone in the off-season at a cost of $20,000. Otherwise, there will be no new features.
There will also be no restrictions for customers – including masks and social distancing – since the pool’s Memorial Day holiday opening is just on the cusp of Ohio dropping its COVID restrictions. Kidder said guests can use their own discretion.
“At the point that we’re at right now, it’s a personal decision to make, and if you don’t feel comfortable in group settings like a swimming pool…then you have the ability to stay home and not go,” she said. “People have done what they needed to do to get us to the point where the health orders could drop off, and we can open without any restrictions moving forward, so we’re excited about that.”
The pool remained closed last year after the village decided the more stringent COVID-19 restrictions at the time were too overwhelming to cover.
“It’s a recreation opportunity for people but it’s also just somewhere for kids to go who don’t have anywhere else. It provides them with activities,” Kidder said. “Losing that ability is tough for people, and it’s unfortunate that the kids were the ones so greatly affected across the board…It definitely wasn’t easy for anybody.”
The village will maintain a normal pool season this year, with public swimming Monday through Friday, 1:15-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission is still $2. The season will close in mid-August.
Kidder said there may still be hope this season to introduce a $430,000, 3,000 square-foot splash currently in the works for Ruihley Park. “I would like to think that it’s still a possibility. I’m still hopeful that it can come to life this year,” she said.
Wauseon will follow the state’s current COVID-19 restrictions until they’re expected to be rescinded June 2. That will include mask mandates at the city pool when it opens Friday, May 28.
“After that, what I’m hoping is, we can remove signage and go about business as usual,” Public Service Director Keith Torbet said.
And while pool visitors will be required to follow state COVID-19 regulations, “We’re not going to necessarily enforce it for three days,” he said. Signage will be posted but vaccinated guests won’t have to wear masks when not in the water. Pool staff other than lifeguards will wear masks.
Torbet said he doesn’t expect the rush of visitors experienced last summer, when Wauseon’s pool was the only one open locally. “I don’t see as big a push for it because other pools will be opening,” he said.
A new attraction will be an expanded snack shack capable of selling hot food items such as hot dogs and pizza.
Wauseon’s pool will be open Sunday through Friday, 1-8 p.m., and Saturday, 1-5:30 p.m., with private pool rentals available 6-9:15 p.m. Admission remains at $3.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.