Here’s how Toronto pools are handling COVID-19

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a heat wave, new social distancing, health checking and tracing methods are going swimmingly at Toronto pools

Those looking to beat the heat while feeling reasonably safe will be happy to know that the City Of Toronto is running a tight ship at public pools.

Except for those under construction, all outdoor pools are open to the public, offering an appealing option during this double whammy of a heat wave and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. FYI, researchers say chlorine kills COVID-19.

Pools are operating at 25 per cent capacity over 45 minute intervals. Swimmers are allowed into the pool at the top of every hour and cleared out 15 minutes prior to the next block. There’s no limit to how many times you use the pool – just expect to hop back into line before every hour.

Prior to allowing guests into the pool, City Of Toronto staff quiz swimmers to weed out people who are showing COVID-19 symptoms or should be in quarantine for other reasons. They also take down each guest’s name and phone number or email before each swimming block for contact tracing purposes, just in case a patron is later found to have COVID-19.

Plan to take showers at home if possible, as the options are limited onsite due to social distancing measures.

Despite the heat wave and limited options during the pandemic, the pools haven’t felt overwhelmed. My own kids have been able to enjoy the water without having to sit out any intervals at our neighbourhood pool over the past couple days.

All outdoor pools in Toronto are open for lane swimming from 11 am to noon and leisure swimming from noon to 8 pm. Six city pools including Alex Duff and Monarch Park will be open until 11:45 pm.

Splash pads, wading pools and the Beach are also options for staying cool. People need to be mindful about social distancing, limiting their contact and cleaning their hands.

The Beach in particular has attracted massive crowds that leave a mess for neighbourhood residents to clean up. The city has made public pleas that people clean up after themselves.

If you’re planning to go biking, walking or stay outdoors for other physical activities, Toronto’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa recommends doing so during the cooler hours. She also reminds the public to stay hydrated and check in on loved ones, particularly the elderly.

Check the listing below for open pools in your area.

More tips for dealing with the heat can be found at the City Of Toronto’s Keep Cool website.


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