Pools Should Have the Same Restrictions as Other Businesses

Pools Should Have the Same Restrictions as Other Businesses

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colleen phelan started this petition to Governor Ned Lamont

​I believe in science. I wear a mask, I practice social distancing and follow all the COVID guidelines from the CDC and the state of CT. The vast majority of them make sense to me and have a clear scientific basis in what we know about COVID. 

But the new limit of four people to a pool - regardless of capacity or number of lanes - makes absolutely ZERO sense. 

Swimming is a COVID low-risk sport per the CDC and the State of CT's own guidelines. USA Swimming has created procedures for aquatic facilities to follow to ensure the safety of swimmers and staff. To date, there have been no reported COVID infections due to swimming in Connecticut. Per the CDC:

"CDC is not aware of any scientific reports of the virus that causes COVID-19 spreading to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Plus, proper operation of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds (such as at an apartment complex or owned by a community) and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus." (bold is mine)

Swimming in a properly maintained pool not only promotes physical and mental health, it is actually a sport that inactivates the COVID-19 virus

And yet, those who swim are now scrambling to find lane space because of the 4-person capacity restrictions recently placed on pools by CT. Some pools have simply shut down because it isn't financially feasible to survive on 4 swimmers at a time. People have lost jobs and countless individuals have lost access to swimming.

The four person maximum capacity reminds me of the recently Supreme Court- overturned NY edict regarding in-person religious attendance. In his opinion , Kavanaugh stated the restrictions on houses of worship are not only “severe, but also are discriminatory” because they must abide by guidelines that other businesses in the neighborhood do not." Swimming may not be a Constitutional right, but pools are subjected to restrictions that other businesses in the neighborhood do not. 

For instance:

  • A related business, health clubs, have social distance and percentage of capacity restrictions that take into account size of the facility.
  • Grocery stores, clothing stores, office supply stores, floral shops, hardware stores, department stores, and pharmacies also have similar social distance and capacity restrictions based on size of store.
  • Restaurants have up to 50% capacity with 6ft space with a maximum of 8 people per table. So more people can sit down to eat at a 8' round table at a restaurant to eat than can swim in a pool, no matter how many lanes.
  • My personal favorite, however, is that "Gentleman's Clubs" are subjected to the same capacity issues as restaurants as they skirt around being a bar by serving in some cases only protein drinks and corn dogs. So you can have 8 individuals eating corn dogs with a beer watching an exotic dancer at the same table, but only 4 individuals in a pool at the same time. 

I'm asking Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Health to review this severe and discriminatory capacity restriction for pool. Make your guidelines be based on science. Permit pools to allow percentage of capacity with social distancing guidelines vs the very arbitrary number of 4 swimmers they have now. Having capricious business restrictions that aren't based in science will only deter people from following those rules which are sensible. 

Connecticut - follow the science. Open up pools with the same capacity and social distancing restrictions that health clubs' have. 



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