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Firestone pool rules set in stone

Swimming will begin June 15, for Columbiana residents only

COLUMBIANA — When the park board made the decision to open up the pool for the summer during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, board president Ron Detwiler made it clear that there would be a short leash if the guidelines weren’t able to be enforced.

After coming up with strict procedures and adjusted guidelines, city council approved the pool opening at Firestone Park on June 15 at Tuesday’s meeting.

While complying with all of the guidelines from Gov. Mike DeWine, the CDC and the county health department, City Manager Lance Willard aided the park board by addressing each bullet point that was laid out.

“Everything we’re doing is on a very, very short leash,” Detwiler said. “If people will not listen, we will have to pull the plug on this.”

A major change this summer will be that the pool is only open to Columbiana residents.

Before the pool opens, there will be a registration day, where families can register by showing documentation and proof of residency. The language from the CDC guidelines emphasize the importance of stopping the spread of the virus by limiting local pools to local residents only.

After doing a study considering the guidelines and the size of the pool, the park board has decided they will limit the numbers to 150 people in the pool area and 30 people in the baby pool on the outside.

Detwiler said that number can change depending on their ability to enforce the rules, and they will be counting everyone who enters and leaves the area. Normally, there is no lifeguard at the baby pool, but now there will be to enforce the rules. There will also be additional lifeguards in the pool area, who have been instructed by the county health department, which visited the pool to approve the procedures.

Maintaining social distancing and keeping the environment clean will be key for the opening to work according to Detwiler. The board is making sure that the locker rooms will be disinfected every two hours, as well as other high-touch surfaces like the concession stand, which will be open. During pool checks, Detwiler emphasized the importance of no congregations in the grass area on the north end of the pool, where visitors typically like to lay out.

“We will be enforcing that,” Detwiler said. “The guards have been trained in this. There will also be increased police presence for enforcement of all of these rules.”

When visitors enter the pool area, they will be required to wear a mask or face covering. When swimming, however, they are required to take them off, as Detwiler said wet masks are dangerous and make it hard to breathe.

While pool rates have not been decided, there will not be a pool pass this year. Each time someone visits, there will be a daily fee.

“We believe that we can pull this off if we do everything correctly,” Detwiler said. “At the same time, we will not do anything to jeopardize the health of our community.”

slendak@mojonews.com

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