TRI-STATE (WEHT) — Pools across the Tri-State are preparing to reopen for the summer season after being closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Evansville city pools are scheduled to open on June 5.
“We are excited to open the pools again,” said City of Evansville Executive Director of Parks & Recreation Brian Holtz. “We’re filling the pools up, getting to the process of cleaning, and everything in working order. It’s a little slow because we were closed for a year, so it’s kind of a process to get going again, but we are getting ready to open the pool season in early June.”
Preparations have been underway for about a week to open the city’s five public pools. Officials said they are still waiting on some more COVID-19 guidance from the state and local health departments on how best to move forward with their reopening.
“We are prepared if we have to make any changes to those general operating procedures,” Holtz said. “We feel pretty confident with where we are at and kind of the protocols we already had in place.”
Across the Ohio River in Henderson, Atkinson Pool may not open in time for the summer.
“We normally open seven days a week, but maybe this year we can only open five days and there’s a possibility if we don’t get any more lifeguards, we may not be able to open at all,” said City of Henderson Director of Parks and Recreation Trace Stevens.
Officials said if there is not a drastic change in the next week, the pool will not be opened. The big problem is a short supply of lifeguards.
“I think there might be a number of factors, I think the pandemic has made people uneasy about working in a public place even at this point,” Stevens said.
Finding lifeguards is also a problem in Evansville, but officials said they have filled many openings and still need help.
“I think that is a pretty specific group of people,” Holtz said. “You have to be certified and you have to be recertified, if that’s the case, so it’s a pretty specific group we are trying to hire and with being closed last year, that doesn’t help the overall process.”
Both sides of the Ohio River are just looking forward to getting back to the pool. Henderson city officials said they plan on making a decision on whether or not to open Atkinson Pool by early next week.
(This story was originally published May 11, 2021)